NIAC Statement on Conclusion of Baghdad Talks
As talks between Iran the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) conclude, all parties should be commended for returning to the negotiating table. Both sides entered negotiations with their maximalist positions, and neither budged. Looking ahead, now the hard work begins.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Washington, DC - Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian
American Council (NIAC), released the following statement regarding the
conclusion of the Baghdad talks:
"As talks between Iran the permanent
members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1)
conclude, all parties should be commended for returning to the
negotiating table. Obama should be commended for having turned diplomacy
into a process rather than the one-off meetings that existed in the
past. There is no other way to find a peaceful solution to this crisis.
These talks were always going to be challenging, because making
progress means tackling the thorniest issues that have divided the two
sides for years. To that end, both sides entered negotiations with
their maximalist positions, and neither budged. Looking ahead, now the
hard work begins.
"With that in mind, it is important to be clear about what has happened
thus far. The U.S. made it clear that regardless of tangible
concessions offered by Iran on 20% enrichment, it would still not offer
any sanctions relief at this stage of the negotiations. As a result,
the paradigm has shifted: It’s less about the U.S. knowing what Iran is
capable of offering and more about one of two scenarios: The U.S. is
either driving a hard bargain, or Congress has limited Obama's
maneuverability to the extent he does not have the necessary political
space to offer sanctions relief to match Iranian concessions.
"If this position is more than a hard bargaining tactic, and it holds in
the next round of talks in Moscow in June, then likelihood of a
confrontation will increase. This begs an important question: Is
Congress willing to risk war for the sake of not lifting any sanctions
even if Iran offers real and tangible concessions?
"We remain hopeful that this is a bargaining tactic rather than a
negitiation strategy. The U.S. can afford to drive a hard bargain
because time still exists to talk but time is short.
"A feasible solution is to match tangible, verifiable Iranian
concessions with a delay of the impending European Unions oil embargo.
This would add time to the negotiation clock and buy both sides some
"All too often in the past, negotiations have collapsed not because a
deal couldn't be found, but because domestic political factors prevented
either or both sides from taking yes for an answer. Both sides must
pursue a strategy centered for breaking the deadlock, rather than on
appeasing domestic elements who fear peace more than they fear war."