According to a recent statement from Tehran, Iran wants to have direct talks with U.S. concerning its controversial nuclear program. This implies that the Iranian leaders want to deal directly with U.S. without any interference from intermediaries like France or Britain.
After a marathon four days and five rounds of talks Iran and the GP5+1 powers ( U.S. , Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany) agreed to an interim Joint Action Plan on Nov., 24, at Geneva. According to the terms of this accord Iran is to curb its nuclear activity in lieu of easing of sanctions by the E.U. and the U.S., initially for a period of six months. A significant headway was made at Geneva but the recent move by Iran is viewed by political commentators as a response to the U.S. Senate’s insistence that tougher sanctions need to be put in place visa a vis Iran. Majority of the senators are in agreement that tougher sanctions are the only way to make Iran to stop its nuclear activities. While the Obama administration wants the senators to show restraint and let the talks move forward. It is in wake of the hardline taken by the U.S. Senate powerful Foreign Relations Committee that Iran wants to talk directly with the U.S. concerning its nuclear program.
Iran is adamant that it needs to harness nuclear power for peaceful purposes only. Iran needs nuclear energy for production of electricity and in conducting important medical research. On the other hand states like Israel, who view Iran as an out-and-out rogue state, hold that Iran is in the process of building a nuclear bomb. Israel stance is supported by Sunni states in the Middle East who also are of the confirmed view that Iran’s nuclear program is not for peaceful purposes.
Talks between the GP5+1 powers and Iran are due to resume on Dec., 30 after the Christmas break. It is viewed by many as a make or break juncture in the talks. If U.S. Senate continues to exert pressure on Iran , some political analysts believe that Iran might not resume the negotiation process. This would deal a death-blow to the Nov., 24 Geneva accord.
The present Iranian demand is seen by many a direct result of the U.S. Senate’s stance concerning its nuclear program. The political analysts also say that because of this stance of the U.S. Senate, Iran has stepped-up the process of advanced nuclear enrichment. In addition, Iran has made phenomenal progress in its liquid fueled rocket technology by successfully sending a monkey into space and safely bringing it back to earth.
History will judge whether it was a sound move by the U.S. and it’s allies to bring Iran to the negotiation table or was only a vain exercise in international diplomacy. States like Israel are of the confirmed view that a military strike would have been a much better option and still is. Whatever the ultimate outcome, the present Iranian demand to talk directly with the U.S. concerning it nuclear program seems the only way forward.
By Iftikhar Tariq Khanzada