Press Release by National Iranian American Council (NIAC)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during talks on Tehran's nuclear program in Vienna
Washington, DC - National Iranian American Council President Trita Parsi issued the following statement in response to the decision to extend negotiations over Iran's nuclear program:
"For those who favor a peaceful resolution to the nuclear dispute, it is critically important these negotiations will continue. A collapse of talks would have been unacceptable, returning both sides to the path of escalation and eventual war. Instead, the United States and Iran have been in serious and sustained dialogue with each other on the nuclear issue for over a year and have much to show for it. Slowly but surely, the negotiations have punctured the wall of distrust between the U.S. and Iran and advanced us closer than ever before to resolving the nuclear dispute.
"It is disappointing that a final agreement has been delayed, but the U.S. and Iran are committed to resolving this issue diplomatically and clearly understand that failure is not an option. The only question is whether each side can make the tough compromises necessary to reach a deal. Standing on the cusp of an historic agreement, both the U.S. and Iranians need to show the same courage that has got them this far and take the final steps towards sealing a nuclear deal.
"Iran must show more willingness to compromise on size and scope of its enrichment program. The U.S. must show greater willingness to provide for sanctions relief in the initial stages of a deal, when any agreement is most vulnerable.
"Further delay will provide ammunition to hardliners on both sides intent on sabotaging the historic developments in U.S.-Iran relations. The domestic politics in Tehran and Washington pose challenges to compromise. These negotiations could very well fall victim to hostile domestic politics in Tehran and Washington, especially with a new Republican majority being sworn into the U.S. Senate this January.
"It is critical that Congress continue to give U.S. negotiators the flexibility they need to win a strong nuclear deal. Passing new sanctions or setting the bar for an agreement at impossible heights risks dashing the hard work of our negotiators and setting us squarely back on the path towards military conflict. History would view any negative reaction from Congress as a needless tragedy.
"These negotiations offer a chance to prevent war, secure peace, and add stability to an unstable region. The sides came close but did not get there this time. They must get there soon because this window of opportunity will not last forever. The American people do not want another war. The Iranian people are suffering under sanctions. The sooner a deal is concluded, the sooner these issues impacting ordinary people can be resolved, and attention can be brought to resolve other critical issues, including regional challenges and Iran's human rights situation.
"We are too close to the finish line to allow defeat to be snatched from the jaws of victory. Efforts to resolve the nuclear issue diplomatically must be redoubled. The time has come for the United States and Iran to make the tough decisions necessary to reach a comprehensive agreement."
The end of Iran and Five-plus-One negotiations in Vienna
(cartoon by Salman Taheri, Shahrvand daily)
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