FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), released the following statement regarding the conclusion of the Moscow talks between Iran and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (P5+1). Iran experts Farideh Farhi of the University of Hawai’i, Ahmad Sadri, and Trita Parsi are available for comment, please contact
“While the parties should be commended for pursuing a diplomatic solution to the nuclear standoff, it is clear the two sides are not yet committed to doing everything necessary to avert a crisis. With each side having limitations on what they could give, but not on what they could demand, the inability to reach a deal should not take anyone by surprise.
“The U.S. and its partners, under pressure from Congress, were unwilling to leverage sanctions in exchange for meaningful Iranian concessions. If diplomacy is a game of poker, we are at risk of being so enamored with our sanctions hand that we are unwilling to play it.
“The Iranians, meanwhile, failed again to meet bilaterally with the U.S. If Iran will not talk to the U.S. negotiators, no one in Washington will listen to them.
“There is a feasible near-term solution to the nuclear standoff. The U.S. and partners should leverage impending sanctions, such as the European Union oil embargo, to secure concessions from Iran to freeze its 20% enrichment of uranium. This would address our most immediate concerns with Iran’s nuclear program and amount to a significant nonproliferation achievement in its own right. But it also would add the time and breathing room for a larger deal to be negotiated that ensures Iran does not obtain a nuclear weapon and to broaden the agenda to address human rights and other areas of critical importance.
“Instead, the U.S. and Europe made it clear that would not trade in any of their sanctions, regardless of what concessions Iran made, and Iran refused to meet bilaterally with the U.S.
“If a compromise is not vigorously pursued, war will become far more likely. As Western countries escalate economic warfare against Iran, Iran is likely to escalate in kind, exacerbating the already perilous spiral towards conflict.
“This begs an important question: Are we willing to risk war for the sake of never lifting any sanctions?”