[R-G] NIAC Welcomes US Participation in Nuclear Talks
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Wed Jul 16 10:17:34 MDT 2008
NIAC Welcomes US Participation in Nuclear Talks
Jul 16, 2008
Contact: Goli Fassihian
Tel: 202 215 0998
For immediate release
Washington DC - NIAC welcomes the State Department's decision to have
Undersecretary William Burns participate in nuclear negotiations with
Iran this weekend in Geneva together with Washington's European
allies. While the State Department characterizes the meeting as a
"one-time deal", it signals a significant shift in U.S.' long-standing
policy and demonstrates a positive step towards reducing the
possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran.
"The missing ingredient in curtailing Tehran's nuclear ambitions has
been the absence of U.S. participation in the talks" said Trita Parsi,
President of the National Iranian American Council. "Undersecretary
Burns' presence at the table will provide the major boost, that to
date, has been missing."
"For all practical purposes, the Bush Administration's precondition
that Iran must suspend uranium enrichment before the U.S. will hold
talks has been shelved," Parsi added.
Still, Burns' presence at the talks in Geneva doesn't in and of itself
signal the imminence of a resolution.
According to Parsi, "there are no quick fixes in the nuclear talks and
expectations must remain moderate in the short-term. The immediate
objective must still focus on creating an atmosphere that enables
diplomacy to succeed."
By sending Burns to Geneva, Washington puts the onus back on Iran to
show goodwill and flexibility.
"This puts the ball back in Tehran's court," Parsi continued. "Though
American participation in the talks won't lead to an immediate
breakthrough, it does signal American sincerity and increases the
prospects for a short-term freeze-for-freeze."
Under the freeze-for-freeze formula, Iran would halt any advancement
in its enrichment activities for a period of six weeks while the
Security Council would refrain from imposing additional sanctions on
Iran. During this period, the Europeans and Iran would negotiate an
agreement on the modalities of a full suspension, after which the
United States would formally join the talks.
Freeze-for-freeze does not necessarily resolve the nuclear issue, but
it can help kick-start the talks and provides an avenue to find a
formula for real negotiations down the road. For those negotiations to
take place and succeed, all sides must show greater flexibility.
"Sending Burns to Geneva is a significant step in the right
direction," Parsi said. "And to build on this and reach a sustainable
solution, the zero-enrichment objective must be reassessed. To avoid a
nuclear armed Iran, it is more realistic to limit than to eliminate
Iran's enrichment program."
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