As the P5+1 prepares to sit down for talks with on Iran on its nuclear program this weekend, our own Laicie Olson argues in an op-ed published today in the Hill that the upcoming meeting is a vital first step in what will likely be a long-term effort to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is purely for civilian purposes. Here’s an excerpt:
Regardless of the failure of past attempts, an opportunity exists today that has not before, with limited political space seemingly open in both the U.S. and Iran for compromise. Under the strongest sanctions ever, Iran’s currency has lost more than 40% of its value, forcing the country to postpone billions in new energy projects because of the impact on their economy. Dozens of Iran’s banks have been cut off from the international finance system.
Meanwhile, the American public, war-weary and worried about economic conditions, continues to oppose military action against Iran, favoring sanctions and diplomacy by a large margin, and the Pentagon appears skeptical of the use of force. The Obama Administration has reason to avoid escalation and seek diplomatic progress, particularly in an election year.
This meeting is a clear first step in what will be a long process, but a process that provides an opportunity to deliver real change. While there is no clear solution in sight, each side has more reason than ever to come to the table, and remain until a solution has been reached.