Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The End of the Diplomatic Process?: Experts Offer Analysis of Iran’s Response to the P5+1 Proposal

On August 22, 2006, Iran formally responded to a proposal from the P5+1 (Britain, China, France, Russia, United States + Germany) seeking to resolve the dispute over the country’s nuclear program. What does Iran’s response mean for the future of negotiations? Was the proposal from the P5+1 fair and adequate? How is the United Nations Security Council likely to respond? How should the US respond?

The Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation hosted a press conference on August 22 with Dr. Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, and Dr. James Walsh Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

During the press conference, Trita Parsi said, "The Iranians will likely agree to negotiations that may lead to at least a temporary suspension, but not agree to this as a precondition. As disappointing as this response may be for Washington, it should not be seen as the end of the negotiating track.” Dr. Parsi is the author of the forthcoming book Treacherous Triangle - The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States (Yale University Press, 2007).

Dr. Walsh said a US rush to impose sanctions could also split the fragile alliance built up over the issue among the permanent UN Security Council members - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States. According to Dr. Walsh, "You can tell by Iran's comments in advance of this response that they are seeking to divide the Europeans and the Americans. Any appearance on the part of Iran that it is willing to be serious about negotiations will give the Chinese, the Russians and to some extent the Europeans reason to want to avoid escalating the political crisis, and that means at this point voting for sanctions.”

More on the press conference soon.

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