Nuclear Talks Take Momentum

Friday, February 20, 2015

Abdolreza Ghofrani
Former Senior Diplomat and International Analyst

The new round of nuclear talks between Iran and United States are scheduled to be opened on 20th February 2015 in Geneva. This implies that the two sides as well as the 5+1 have serious will to come slowly but surely to terms before 30th June. More important is that Iran and US chiefs of diplomacy would talk after the negotiating teams of the two countries conclude their deliberations on the items of the agenda. It is worthy to note that Iran's Foreign Minister, Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif and John Kerry, US Secretary Of State is, reportedly, scheduled to meet again on Sunday 22nd and Monday 23th February, 2015 in Geneva. Thus the two top diplomats will have their seven rounds of talks after the negotiations extended last November for seven months till next June. Now the meeting of these high ranking officials in shorter intervals is an indication that the two negotiating teams should have reached to the good phases that has required their chiefs to meet frequently. Although it is too soon to judge, it is quite clear that the talks are going smoothly. So far so good. United States is showing some good gestures at least in words. Hopefully, she also proves it in deeds. Certainly, face to face meetings and more talks are pretty instrumental provided that there is a good as well as practical will. Though the negotiations between the two sides have to be frank, transparent and straightforward, sometimes, given the sensitivity of the topics discussed in the talks, it's imperative that some details of the debates not to be disclosed because it may adversely affect its progression. Moreover it sounds that US have come to be convinced that reaching an agreement with a great regional power such as Iran, notwithstanding the viewpoints and political difference is valuable. There is no doubt that reaching a fair and just agreement with this regional power has a price. First, this must be on an equal footing, short, of course, of any intimidation and pressures; and the second, in any occasion the best national interests of this regional power must be respected and served. There may not be official diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States for some time, however there is no need of any animosity between the two nations. This nuclear talk is the best chance for United States to prove that it has the good will and transparency in dealing with Iran.  

Moreover dealing with Israel as far as these talks are concerned is a challenge for Washington that needs to be addressed carefully. Because otherwise there may be problems created by Tel Aviv and some of its pals in the Capitol Hill that will place the Administration in a hard situation. Just two days ago, the spokeswoman of U.S. State Department announced that "though US viewpoints on the nuclear negotiations have been unparalleled with those of Israelis', Washington would not intend to pursue openly these negotiations. Particularly, US has witnessed that some of the details of these negotiations selectively disclosed (of course by Israel) to distort Washington standing. "This, admittedly, verify that Israel is (and has been) neither an ally nor a friend for American people.      

It is also a source of hope and optimism that after elapse of months of these nuclear negotiations the United States ingenuously is now admitting the Israel's bad will to torpedo undermining these talks, the progress of which may be in line with and serving the US interests. The statesmen in Israel are just dwelling of their own interests, and to serve those interests they pay no attention to the consequences that may entangle Washington with. It is now quite obvious that even those group of representatives and senators in the Capitol  Hill supporting Israel and inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu to deliver speech before joint session of the Congress have more or less  realized that their approach does not only serve the interest of their country but may endanger their future political life. Ever since Netanyahu has been invited to give a lecture in the Congress, many politicians, journalists, political groups and most important of all American public opinion have voiced their detest to this, asking the visit be called off. It seems that those initiated this invitation has more or less noticed that their approach is not to the benefit of a powerful nation  and apparently as times goes by their determination may waver.

Lastly, everybody knows well that IAEA is an international specialized agency that can do and must do a great job in streamlining the use of nuclear energy that serve the peace of the world. Given this important role, it is for this international forum to take a realistic and fair stand toward Iran that definitely will assist the advance of the nuclear talks now going on between Iran and 5+1. This agency need to utter its position in a clear cut and transparent approach and refraining from the vague and contradicting positions. Just yesterday IAEA declared that the Iran –Agency cooperation have had slight progress. Whereas just one week earlier, IAEA chief, Mr. Amano at the sideline of Munich Security Conference, said that Iran had lived up to all her commitments provided for in 2013 Geneva Joint Plan of Action and has had necessary cooperation with his Agency. So if Iran has abided by all terms of JPA, then it is a good indication of Iran serious and meticulous cooperation with the Agency, and it is not fair to underestimate its cooperation. There is no doubt, as already said, the role of IAEA and the positions it takes is very critical and definitely will have positive impacts on the process and achieving the goals of ongoing nuclear talks if just contradicting viewpoints be avoided.

Key Words: Nuclear Talks, Iran, United States, P5+1, John Kerry, Netanyahu, Mohammad Javad Zarif, Israel, Congress, IAEA, Geneva, Joint Plan of Action, Ghofrani

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