|Extending Iran nuclear talks worthwhile: USA Today||
TEHRAN – An editorial published on the website of USA Today on Sunday approves of the decision made by Iran and the major powers to extend their talks on a comprehensive deal to resolve the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program, saying the potential rewards of clinching a final deal remain exceptionally high.
Following are excerpts of the article:
In a world rife with intractable conflicts, it’s something of an oddity that negotiations to end a uniquely menacing threat have percolated quietly, making progress that just a few months ago seemed far beyond reach.
Now those talks will continue for four more months.
Facing an unattainable Sunday deadline to achieve an agreement to roll back Iran’s nuclear … program, all parties have agreed to an extension until Nov. 24. In the interim, Iran will continue to allow intrusive inspections and receive minor relief from economic sanctions that are (affecting) the Iranian economy.
The extension, signaled by both sides in recent days, was expected. But the muted reaction of skeptics, who see total capitulation by Iran as the only option, was telling.
Their alarmist predictions that easing sanctions would be disastrous have proved false, as have their dire warnings that Iran would cheat while negotiations continued. By all accounts, Iran is complying.
In fact, it has gone further, agreeing to alter the design of a key plutonium reactor and proposing to convert much of its (higher-grade) uranium to a less dangerous form.
None of this means an agreement will be reached.
The technical obstacles to a credible agreement are daunting. (Critics) in Iran, Israel and the U.S. Congress still appear intent on scuttling any deal. Members of Congress from both parties have gone as far to say they will vote to tighten sanctions — not loosen them — unless Iran also gives up its missile program and abandons (its alleged support for) terrorism, neither of which is even a subject of the current negotiations.
Republican Rep. Ed Royce of California, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, criticized the extension of the talks and called for ratcheting up the economic pressure on Iran. But moving ahead with new sanctions at this delicate point in the negotiations would undoubtedly derail them.
On the Iranian side President Hassan Rouhani, whose election led to the surprise Iranian opening, faces powerful domestic opponents.
But amid all the maneuvering, one thing should be clear — at least to reasonable observers: Any agreement (on the settlement of the dispute) would be an astounding achievement, one that could lead to a reassessment of the caustic U.S.-Iran relationship.
Success remains against the odds, but so too do the potential rewards remain exceptionally high.
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