Kerry says Iran rejected nuclear deal

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the major powers were unified on an Iran nuclear deal during weekend talks in Geneva but the Iranians were unable to accept it. He also said critics of the diplomatic effort should withhold their comments until a deal is reached.

Earlier reports said that the talks came apart because France refused to accept the deal with Iran.

Netanyahu has repeatedly criticized what he considers readiness by the six powers involved in the talks to be too generous to Iran and has aggressively campaigned against an agreement. But Kerry reasserted the U.S. commitment to Israel, saying the United States would not allow Iran to develop a nuclear bomb. Thus, Kerry tried to reassure Washington’s Arab allies and Israel that his country would not abandon them.

Kerry said there is no “end game” in motion and the Geneva talks were a first step in longer process of possible give and take.

Tehran has been eager to reach an agreement to ease international sanctions that have halted most oil exports and crippled the county’s economy.

But a key stumbling block has been Iran’s insistence that the international community recognize its “right” to enrich uranium as a signer of a U.N. treaty governing the spread of nuclear technology — also frequently pointing out that Israel has not signed the accord. Kerry’s comments challenge the Iranian view, but do not appear to significantly alter the currently Western effort that seeks to curb Iran’s ability to make its highest-enrich uranium but possibly leaving intact the country’s production of lower-level nuclear fuel.

In deal agreed on Monday aimed at improving transparency in Iran’s nuclear program, Tehran will grant U.N. inspectors “managed access” to a uranium mine and a heavy water plant within three months.

Under the technical accord signed by U.N. nuclear agency chief Yukiya Amano in Tehran, Iran will also provide information about planned new research reactors and sites for future nuclear power plants, as well as clarify earlier statements about additional uranium enrichment facilities.

Britain and Iran said they were reviving diplomatic ties two years after a mob of students attacked the British embassy in Tehran. Both sides said they were appointing a new charge d’affaires.

Britain closed the embassy in 2011 after a rally against British sanctions escalated into violence and protesters scaled the walls, ransacked offices and burned buildings.

source: http://news.yahoo.com/kerry-says-iran-rejected-nuclear-deal-121636403–politics.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/11/us-iran-nuclear-idUSBRE9A804X20131111

Possibility of Agreement

Iran’s plan to cap some of the country’s atomic activities in exchange for selective relief from crippling economic sanctions has been accepted by six world powers, the country’s chief nuclear negotiator said Thursday.

After nearly a decade of deadlock, Iran seems more amenable to making concessions to the six countries. Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, has indicated he could cut back on the nuclear program in exchange for an easing of sanctions.

Despite the seemingly calmer political backdrop, issues remain. Iranian hard-liners, for example, want significant sanctions reductions in exchange for scaling back enrichment, while some U.S. lawmakers want the enrichment to stop altogether in exchange for loosening the sanctions. Officials from two of the delegations said the sanctions relief on offer at this meeting will be limited and is unlikely to affect the core sanctions on Iran’s oil and finance sectors unless Tehran makes sweeping concessions, which is thought to be unlikely.

One negotiating point is expected to center on Iran’s production of uranium enriched to 20 percent – a level that is only a technical step short of weapons grade material. Iranian officials have hinted they are ready to discuss Western demands both for a production stop and of turning stockpiles into a form that is difficult to use for nuclear arms.

Though that would not, in itself, be sufficient to ease oil and finance sanctions, diplomats have previously said initial sanctions rollbacks could free Iranian funds in overseas accounts, and allow trade in gold and petrochemicals.

source: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/I/IRAN_NUCLEAR_TALKS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-11-07-06-17-50

U.S., Russia fail to agree on Syria peace talks date

The United States and Russia failed on Tuesday to agree on a date for a Syrian peace conference, remaining divided over what role Iran might play in talks to end the civil war and over who would represent Syria’s opposition.

The proposed peace conference is meant to build on a June 2012 agreement among world powers in Geneva that called for a transitional authority with full executive powers, but did not explicitly say Assad should step down.

Damascus reiterated on Monday that Assad would stay in power come what may, casting doubt on the political transition that is the main focus of the proposed “Geneva 2” conference.

“Syria – the state, the nation and the people – will remain and … Assad will be president of this country all the time they are dreaming that he isn’t,” the Syrian state news agency quoted Information Minister Omran Zoabi as saying on Monday.

Russia said Iran, Assad’s main sponsor, must be invited to any peace talks, after the main Syrian political opposition leader said his coalition would not attend if Tehran took part.

The U.S. official said Washington recognized Iran was going to play a role in the region and wanted to ensure it was not a negative one. “But … the United States believes everybody who comes to the Geneva conference should subscribe to the Geneva communique, have made that commitment before they come. Iran has not chosen to do that.”

Saudi Arabia and the United States oppose any invitation for Iran.

Mohammad Javad Zarif told France 24. “We are prepared for everybody with influence to push for (the) withdrawal of all non-Syrians from the Syrian soil.

source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/05/us-syria-crisis-talks-idUSBRE9A40G920131105

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/05/iran-syria-withdrawal_n_4219977.html

Iran signals new phase in ties with West

The latest round of talks between Iran and world powers have concluded in Geneva, Switzerland, with Iran indicating a willingness to scale back uranium enrichment, as well as allowing for snap inspections of its nuclear sites as part of a new proposal to end a decade-long standoff with world powers. Full details of Iran’s proposals, presented during two days of negotiations in Geneva with six world powers, have not been made public. But, in a clear sign of hope, the two sides agreed to hold follow-up negotiations on November 7 and 8 in Geneva.

Iran did not intend to renounce all enrichment “under any circumstances”, the Russian state news agency RIA quoted an unidentified Iranian delegation source as saying. Western officials have repeatedly said that Iran must suspend enriching uranium to 20 percent fissile purity, their main worry, before sanctions are eased. “Are we there yet? No, but we need to keep talking,” a Western diplomat said as talks resumed on Wednesday.

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/10/iran-hints-more-nuclear-concessions-20131016151836874395.html

SAUDI ARABIA REJECTS SEAT ON UN SECURITY COUNCIL

Saudi Arabia on Friday rejected its freshly-acquired seat on the U.N. Security Council, saying the 15-member body is incapable of resolving world conflicts such as the Syrian civil war.The Saudi discontent stems from its frustration with longtime ally United States. The two are at odds over a number of Mideast issues, including how Washington has handled some of the region’s crises, particularly in Egypt and Syria. It also comes as ties between the U.S. and Iran, the Saudi’s regional foe, appear to be improving following a recent telephone conversation between President Barack Obama and Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani.

what it wants to achieve by rejecting the seat?

Source: hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_SAUDI_UN?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2013-10-18-05-24-25