Senior U.S., Iranian Officials To Meet In Geneva

Posted by Joseph R. Fonseca
Saturday, June 07, 2014
Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns

 

The United States said on Saturday it will send its No. 2 diplomat to Geneva to meet senior Iranian officials on Monday and Tuesday in what appeared an effort to break a logjam in wider negotiations over Tehran's nuclear program.

Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, who led secret U.S.-Iranian negotiations that helped bring about a Nov. 24 interim nuclear agreement between Iran and the major powers, will head a U.S. delegation. Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, the primary U.S. negotiator with Iran, will accompany him on a team that will include senior White House national security staff.

The most recent round of nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers in Vienna last month ran into difficulties, with each side accusing the other of having unrealistic demands in negotiations aimed at curbingTehran's atomic program in exchange for an end to economic sanctions.

The U.S. decision to travel to Geneva and meet with the Iranian delegation, which a senior U.S. official said might be led by IranianDeputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi, appeared to reflect Washington's desire to try to break the deadlock.

"In order to really seriously test whether we can reach a diplomatic solution with Iran on its nuclear program, we believe we need to engage in very active and very aggressive diplomacy," the senior U.S. official told Reuters.

"We're at a critical moment," the U.S. official added. "We've always said that we would engage bilaterally with the Iranians if it can help advance our efforts, in active coordination with the P5+1."

The United States is set to join the other members of the six-power negotiating group known as the P5+1 - Great Britain, China, France,Germany and Russia - plus Iran for a full round of negotiations June 16-20 in Vienna. The talks are coordinated by European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

A French diplomatic source said next week's U.S.-Iran talks were being carried out in concert with the rest of the major powers, which the U.S. official confirmed.

?"This meeting is in consultation with the other five. There are specific American aspects regarding lifting of sanctions in case of an agreement that they need to go through with the Iranians," the French diplomatic source said.

Ashton's spokesman Michael Mann said EU Political Director Helga Schmid would join the U.S.-Iranian talks, which he said were taking place "in the context of the intensified ... negotiating process with Iran."

Mann added that the U.S. delegation would be meeting with Iran'sDeputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi.

JULY 20 DEADLINE LOOMS

Robert Einhorn, a former top U.S. non-proliferation official, said he viewed the Burns trip as an effort to meet what appears to be an extremely challenging deadline of July 20 to secure a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program.

"There were growing concerns, I think, on all sides that the July 20 target date was becoming increasingly difficult to meet," said Einhorn, now at the Brookings Institution think tank in Washington.

"Because the engagement at Bill Burns' level proved instrumental in reaching the interim agreement in November, I think both sides thought it would be useful to try that channel again," he added.

Although the United States has pursued the six-power negotiating track with Iran, any workable deal will likely have to be based on a bilateral agreement between Washington and Tehran. The United States cut off ties with Iran during a hostage crisis shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

High-level bilateral meetings between the United States and Iran, virtually unthinkable in years past, have become almost routine on the sidelines of the nuclear talks with Tehran, which began in Geneva last October and moved to Vienna in February.

In announcing the Burns trip, the State Department stressed the talks were taking place "in the context of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations led by EU High Representative Cathy Ashton."

This appeared to be an effort to quiet any discontent on the part of other members of the group, some of whom were displeased last year that they were not fully informed of the details of the secret U.S.-Iran talks led by Burns.

The senior U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the talks next week were not negotiations.

"These are really consultations to exchange views in advance of the next negotiating round in Vienna," the official said.

The official said Washington was being open about the bilateral consultations with Iran "unlike before when it needed to be kept very discreet to give it the best chance of success".

Iran will hold separate bilateral meetings with Russian negotiators inRome on June 11-12, Iranian media reported.

'TOUGH CHOICES'

"We haven't yet seen the kind of realism on the Iranian side that we need to see or seen them make some of the tough choices we're going to have to see," the official said.

The talks are aimed at reaching a deal under which Tehran would curb parts of its nuclear program in exchange for an end to sanctions that have crippled its economy.

Western officials say that Iran insists on maintaining an excessive uranium enrichment capability, which Tehran says is necessary so that it is not dependent on foreign suppliers for fuel for its nuclear reactors.

Tehran rejects allegations from Western powers and their allies that it is seeking the capability to produce atomic weapons under cover of a civilian energy program.

At last month's Vienna negotiations, U.S. and Iranian officials said Iran and the six world powers had made little progress on ending their dispute, raising doubts over the prospects for a breakthrough by a July 20 deadline.

(Editing by Doina Chiacu, Stephen Powell and Gunna Dickson)

Maritime Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter May 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Contracts

HII Secures Aircraft Carrier Planning Contract

Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) was awarded a $152 million contract for advance planning for the construction of the third aircraft carrier in the Gerald R.

Wood Group Bags Statoil MSA

Wood Group has been awarded an evergreen master services agreement (MSA) by Statoil to support the life cycles of its offshore  and onshore facilities. Work and

Russian Shipbuilder Wins $1 bln Iran Oil Rig Deal

Russian shipbuilder Krasnye Barrikady has been awarded a near-$1 billion contract by Iran to build five offshore drilling rigs for use on Iran's part of the Gulf shelf,

Legal

Sovcomflot IPO Soon

The long-awaited initial public offering (IPO) of Sovcomflot, which runs one of the world’s largest tanker and gas carrier fleets, has moved a step closer.    Economy

First Cruise Company Fined under Australia’s New Fuel Rules

Australia’s NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Carnival PLC $15,000 after one of its P&O Cruises ships, the Pacific Jewel, breached new low sulfur fuel regulations in Sydney Harbour.

UASC Completes Award Winning Finance Deal

United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) announced  the recent conclusion of a series of transactions that resulted in the issuance by a U.S. based trust of $162 million

News

PALFINGER Plans to Acquire Harding Group

The PALFINGER Group announced it intends to acquire 100 percent of the shares in Herkules Harding Holding AS and thus, the globally operating Harding Group, suppliers

Winners of Ferry Design Contest Selected

Winners of International Student Design Competition for a Safe Affordable Ferry to be revealed at the Ferry Safety and Technology Conference   Dr. Roberta Weisbrod,

Maritime Consolidation: Palfinger Aims to Acquire Harding

As maritime markets continue to struggle, merger and acquisition activity should heat up. Today, Austria's Palfinger Group announced that it intends to acquire

People in the News

Glosten Promotes Lamkin to Senior Marine Consultant

Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering consultancy Glosten has promoted Bradley G. Lamkin, PE to Senior Marine Consultant. As a Senior Marine Consultant

Maritime Future Summit: Digital Shipping

Autonomous ships, smart on-board systems: At the Maritime Future Summit on September 5, industry leaders will discuss the future of shipping. For the first time

TORM CFO Zacho Resigns

Mads Peter Zacho, Chief Financial Offer at TORM, has resigned to become Chief Executive Officer at J. Lauritzen A/S. Mads has been with TORM since 2013 and will

Communication

TT Club Welcomes IMO Guidance on SOLAS VGM Amendment

At an International Maritime Organization (IMO) Maritime Safety Committee session in London that culminated on Friday, delegates agreed on guidance and advice to

JWA to provide ShipDC with Marine Weather Info

The database service operated by ClassNK’s wholly owned subsidiary Ship Data Center (ShipDC) has been set to receive marine weather information from Japan Weather Association.

US Navy Orders General Dynamics' DMR Radios

The U.S. Navy awarded a contract modification to General Dynamics Mission Systems to build and deliver more than 30 new AN/USC-61(C) Digital Modular Radios (DMR),

Consulting

IMO to Prevent Cyber-attacks

At a meeting of the IMO's Maritime Safety Committee (MSC), it was recognised that ships may also be exposed to so-called cyber-attacks. Now, the IMO wants to

APL Reduces Carbon Emissions by 45.5%

APL today announced that it has reduced its fleet carbon dioxide emissions by 45.5% in 2015, compared to its emissions level in 2009. This achievement marks APL’s

Rising VLGCs fleet Impact LPG Freight Rates

LPG shipping freight rates are forecast to deteriorate further through 2016 as a result of the fast rising fleet of Very Large Gas Carriers (VLGCs) which has already

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Salvage Ship Repair Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1452 sec (7 req/sec)