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Saturday, October 20, 2018


Splendid Negotiations


Any progress in the nuclear talks with Iran needs reciprocal measures from the West
HASSAN BEHESHTIPOUR | Issue Dated: November 10, 2013, New Delhi
Tags : Nuclear | Iran | P5+1 group |

The fourth round of negotiations between representatives of Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers ended on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. This round of talks was a great leap ahead for both sides and a solid measure aimed at mutual trust building. The two-day talks in Geneva were remarkable for the Iranian side because serious negotiations had gotten underway again after a hiatus of several months. By offering a new proposal which was too attractive for the Western states to reject, Iran proved that it is ready to reach a comprehensive and complete understanding with the West over its peaceful nuclear energy programme.

From the viewpoint of the Western countries, Iran’s plan and its focus on the main details was very considerable because it showed that if the West recognized Iran’s right to enrich uranium on its soil, Tehran would be ready to increase transparency of its nuclear activities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In this way, the West would not have any doubt that Iran is merely following uranium enrichment within framework of peaceful nuclear activities. It was clear since the very outset that due to profound distrust on both sides, an agreement could not be expected in one or two sessions of intense negotiations. Therefore, the fact that both sides agreed to issue a joint statement after six years of talks, was indicative of their will to open a new road for confidence building. It seems that establishment of three specialized committees to delve into the scientific aspects of the case, sanctions, and disarmament was a basic strategy, which will pave the way for preliminary measures that will be taken following the next round of talks which have been scheduled to be held three weeks later in Geneva. The three committees are supposed to provide grounds for the removal of anti-Iran sanctions, determine the quality of future nuclear cooperation between the two sides and also to discuss ways of ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities. The result of their work will be offered to the next meeting between Iran and the P5+1 as an official report.

From a logical viewpoint, in order for the next round of talks to be successful and meaningful, the following measures should be taken:

1. Both sides should accept that the obligations should be mutual and balanced. That is, if an agreement is to be reached in a win-win manner, commitments should be bilateral and, as much as possible, equal in importance.

2. Both sides are going to move towards each other in an effort to build trust. No one can expect one side to stand motionless and wait for the other side to take the next step.

3. If trust building steps start with the recognition of Iran’s right to enrich uranium, they will help to cut the Gordian knot of the negotiations in the shortest possible time.

4. Iran’s proposed plan has envisaged three stages which are inseparable and should be carried out in a step by step manner. That is, implementation of each stage depends on the full implementation of the previous one. As per this model, progress at any stage will build trust for implementation of the next stages by both sides.

5. Iran’s proposed plan is so comprehensive and complete that the opposite party has no pretext to oppose it. It has provided logical answers to questions about what should be done by each party in which manner and in what time frame.  The failure of this plan will make it clear for everybody to see why a logical, comprehensive and complete agreement with Iran over its proposed plan should not be put into place.

6. By proposing a time-bound plan, Iran will strip the Western media of their usual propaganda claim about Iran trying to buy more time in order to complete its nuclear work. Therefore, the time is ripe for the Western side to take advantage of this historical opportunity, discard the policy of “negotiation for negotiation” and once and for all, try to achieve a final agreement with Iran according to a serious schedule.

7. It is imperative for the West to replace its past erroneous policy of “negotiations and pressure” with a new policy of “cooperation and negotiations” when the process of confidence building is complete. Such an approach will lead to sustainability and continuation of any agreement coming out of the negotiations.

8. Undoubtedly, putting an end to the imposition of new sanctions against Iran and removal of the previous ones would be possible on the orders of US President Barack Obama. This will further improve the atmosphere for future negotiations and will provide Iranian negotiators with more maneuvering room in order to achieve new and more important agreements. This measure will also send a clear message to Tehran about the extent to which the United States is ready to correct its erroneous policies of the past.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017