News / Middle East

    White House Stresses Reversibility of Potential Agreement with Iran

    White House press secretary Jay Carney Nov. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    White House press secretary Jay Carney Nov. 7, 2013. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
    The White House says a potential "phased" agreement with Iran to begin addressing concerns about its nuclear program would widen the window of opportunity to resolve the issue through diplomatic means. The comments came Thursday as White House officials also responded to criticism by Israel's prime minister.

    As Iranian and P5+1 negotiators continued talks in Geneva, described as tough and complex, the White House discussed in broad terms a potential "phased approach."

    Spokesman Jay Carney said a first step would halt Iran's nuclear program from moving forward, and potentially roll back parts of it.

    "The first step would address Iran's most advanced nuclear activities, increase transparency so Iran will not be able to use the cover of talks to advance its program, and create time and space as we negotiate a comprehensive agreement,"  he said.

    In exchange, the P5+1 (U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China plus Germany) would consider "limited, targeted and reversible relief" that does not effect "core sanctions architecture." Such relief could involve things that could be "turned on or off" quickly, such as financial sanctions.   

    If Iran fails to live up to commitments, or prove in a meaningful and verifiable way that its nuclear program is exclusively for peaceful purposes, sanctions would be ratcheted up again.  

    Carney also addressed pressure from Congress.  Legislation proposed by one Republican senator would prevent President Obama from waiving any sanctions unless Iran agrees to end uranium enrichment.

    Carney said lawmakers should continue to allow a "pause" to permit the P5+1 to explore the potential of negotiations.

    Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid gave the go-ahead for a key committee to prepare a package of new sanctions, but only after the current negotiations with Iran in Geneva have ended.   

    The Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved a measure last July for new sanctions, but the Democratic-run Senate put off any action.

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the agreement on the table in Geneva would be a "mistake of historic proportions" that would allow Iran to retain capacity to make nuclear weapons.

    Jay Carney repeated the White House position that "there is no daylight" between the U.S. and Israel on preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.  

    When asked if President Obama would seek Mr. Netanyahu's approval before any agreement with Iran is announced Carney said the two men hold frequent discussions on Iran.

    "The president, as you know, speaks regularly with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and I am sure will be speaking to him again in the near future.  I don't have a planned conversation to preview for you.  This is an issue that the two discuss frequently, that our counterparts discuss frequently.  Again, we have an immense amount of cooperation with the Israelis on security issues, and on the challenge of Iran," Carney said.

    Iran was among the topics expected to be discussed when President Obama met with a key Republican senator, John McCain, at the White House.

    McCain is among lawmakers who have opposed any premature weakening of pressure on Iran in the form of economic sanctions.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora