Nuclear talks between Iran and the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) start in Geneva today. This will be the first official round of talks between the two sides since Hassan Rouhani took office as the Iranian president in August.
This round of talks is expected to mark a milestone in the nuclear dispute between Iran and the West since the new government in Iran has said it is ready to enter constructive talks with the negotiating partners to give assurances that Tehran’s nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.
The Obama administration should take the opportunity and not give in to the hawks in Congress and the Israeli lobby, who have been campaigning hard to prevent a nuclear deal between Iran and the West.
Now that the Iranian government has said that it will provide guarantees that its nuclear program is peaceful and has even announced that it is ready to negotiate about “the volume, levels, and methods of enrichment,” there is no excuse for the West to continue to refuse to recognize Iran’s right to uranium enrichment or to prevent the talks in Geneva from facilitating a path for a speedy resolution of the dispute over the Iranian nuclear program and the lifting of the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
Although nobody expects a sudden breakthrough in the talks in Geneva, given Iran’s assurances of nuclear transparency, reaching a tentative agreement based on reciprocal steps should not be an elusive task if the West is really seeking a win-win game.
The Geneva talks will be a test for the West to prove that it has entered the talks with goodwill and is not actually using Iran’s nuclear program as an excuse to put pressure on Tehran. The Iranians are waiting to see the sincerity of the West, particularly the United States.
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