Head over to the Truman Project’s new blog today to read my take on P5+1 negotiations with Iran. A few excerpts are below…
Following the most recent discussion between the P5+1 and Iran on June 18 and 19, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton stated that, “… nobody in that room wants talks for talks sake. And the fact is that they did begin to address the substance for the first time. But there is a very, very long way to go.” This outcome was not surprising to experts familiar with the diplomatic process, but has been used to provide reason for abandoning the process altogether at a time when its persistence is arguably the most critical.
To seize this opportunity, the US will not have the option for indifference. The US and its allies must be aggressive in their negotiations, continuing to push for a bilateral track in addition to existing multilateral discussions. Years of mistrust must be overcome in order to move forward, and neither country is likely to accept an agreement that does not include both incentives and concessions. Each side must be willing to accept some form of compromise. Unfortunately, in the most recent round of negotiations in Moscow, little evidence of flexibility was offered by either side.
The time may come for the President to make a decision on the use of force, but that time is not now. Now, the US and its allies should have full and unquestionable support in their diplomatic efforts, because just as there is little question as to the danger of a nuclear armed Iran, there is also little question as to the consequence of impulsive military action. Diplomatic talks remain the best way forward to both prevent a nuclear armed Iran and the possibility of a larger war in the Middle East.