Ryan Costello, Policy Director with the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement after Iran announced it will resume multilateral negotiations aimed at restoring the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) following a meeting with the EU’s Enrique Mora:
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“The announcement that Iran will resume multilateral negotiations aimed at restoring the JCPOA in the coming weeks is a very welcome development. There is no better deal available for either party through escalation, and continuing the present dynamic of economic pressure for nuclear escalation risks closing the window on a strong nonproliferation agreement that can meet the national security needs of both Washington and Tehran.
“Committing to resume talks, however, does not guarantee success. Each party to the negotiations must come with flexibility and a strong commitment to overcoming remaining diplomatic hurdles. For Iran, that means not discarding the work at the prior six rounds of negotiations wholesale while also showing flexibility in format and willingness to communicate directly with American diplomats. U.S. negotiators, meanwhile, must provide assurance and commitment that the U.S. will not once again renege on the agreement and that Iran will actually receive the sanctions relief promised. The U.S. can’t allow the deal at hand to collapse out of a desire for something that will not even be possible absent restoration and implementation of the initial agreement.
“The odds of success would also significantly increase if each party approves common sense goodwill gestures. Iran can free imprisoned dual nationals – including Siamak and Baquer Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Sharghi – on humanitarian grounds. And the U.S. should take unilateral steps to ease sanctions to help the Iranian people combat the shared threat of COVID-19.
“There are many hurdles to overcome, and time is of the essence. We urge the U.S., P4+1 and Iran to reconvene their negotiations as soon as possible and with renewed urgency in order to head off consequences that would be disastrous for the people of Iran, regional security and global nonproliferation.”