NIAC Welcomes Extension, Urges Compromise to Secure Iran Nuclear Deal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jamal Abdi
Phone: 202-386-6325
Email: jabdi@niacouncil.org

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.”

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CBSNEWS: Two days remain for U.S. to strike nuclear deal with Iran

There are only two days remaining until the deadline for nuclear talks between Iran and other world powers. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Vienna for the talks, where he extended a face-to-face meeting with his Iranian counterpart. Margaret Brennan reports from Vienna.

The Washington Post: Kerry: Iran nuclear talks aim for an agreement, not an extension of deadline

Secretary of State John F. Kerry arrived in Vienna on Thursday for what he hopes will be the culmination of laborious negotiations aimed at curbing Iran’s ability to build a nuclear weapon and easing debilitating sanctions on the country’s economy.

On a stop in Paris en route to Vienna, Kerry said negotiators are focused on finalizing a deal by the time an interim agreement dies at midnight Monday — although it is expected that the talks could continue until dawn Tuesday.

“We are not talking about an extension,” Kerry said. “We are talking about getting an agreement.”

The Guardian: Skepticism grows over deal on Iran nuclear program as deadline looms

John Kerry joined Iran nuclear negotiations in Vienna as they entered a hectic final phase on Thursday night, fighting growing scepticism that they can be completed by the Monday deadline.

The US secretary of state was due to hold late-night talks with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in a last-ditch attempt to break the deadlock on unresolved issues.

But a former senior State Department official, involved in Middle East policy until only a few weeks ago, said it was now not “physically possible” to conclude a comprehensive agreement in the time remaining. He argued that an extension of up to six months might be necessary.