Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Time for U.S.-Iran Talks

Time for U.S.-Iran Talks

by Alon Ben-Meir
August 7, 2013

A wide range of credible sources suggest that the election of Iran’s new president Hassan Rouhani presents a timely, if not momentous, opportunity to initiate direct talks between the US and Iran in an effort to peacefully resolve the conflict over Tehran’s nuclear program.

The prospect of a breakthrough has been dramatically enhanced because of Rouhani’s resolve to take a drastically different path than the confrontational one taken by his predecessor Ahmadinejad during his eight years as president.

Conversely, regardless of how slim the chance to reach an agreement may be, the Obama administration has an obligation to seek direct negotiations to demonstrate that it has spared no effort to bring an end to a simmering conflict before it ignites another Middle East conflagration with disastrous implications.

Rouhani is a Western-educated cleric, a regime insider with vast connections to past and present top Iranian officials; he enjoys the confidence of Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei and knows what he can and cannot accept. He is a skilled and experienced negotiator and possesses many personal attributes that have earned him wide respect.

In a statement after his inauguration, Rouhani pledged to follow a “path of moderation” while promising greater transparency over his country’s nuclear program.

That said, he insisted “the only way for interaction with Iran is dialogue on equal footing, with mutual respect and mutual confidence building. I want to clearly express that if you want the right response it should not be through the language of sanctions, but through discourse and respect [emphasis added].”

To clearly signal his readiness to negotiate in earnest, he appointed a Western-oriented team including Javad Zarif, a fluent English speaker who earned his doctorate at the University of Denver and was an ambassador to the UN, as his foreign minister, which strongly suggests his commitment to break the nuclear impasse.

The White House congratulated the new president, stating “The inauguration of President Rouhani presents an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community’s deep concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.” The new Iranian government “will find a willing partner” in the US if it chooses to “engage substantively and seriously.”

I, for one, fully support direct negotiations. The United States needs to exhaust every possible option before it resorts to military means, particularly since such talks come at a time when Tehran needs to change course and is likely to make significant concessions without losing face.

*************

Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies. www.alonben-meir.com

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: Biden’s Victory: A Eunuch Presidency Beckons

Whatever was set to happen on November 3, President Donald J. Trump would not lose. Falling in that establishment firebreak against democracy known as the Electoral College would not erase, let alone repudiate him. His now victorious opponent, far ... More>>

Reese Ehrlich: Foreign Correspondent: The Challenge For Joe Biden

If he’s smart, the likely President-elect will stop the unpopular endless wars and use the money to help our domestic economy. By Reese Erlich I’m pissed. I’m pissed at Donald Trump for trying to shut down the vote count early and at Republicans More>>

Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

The Conversation: Biodiversity: Where The World Is Making Progress – And Where It’s Not

The future of biodiversity hangs in the balance. World leaders are gathering to review international targets and make new pledges for action to stem wildlife declines. Depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty person, you’re likely ... More>>

The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

Gordon Campbell: 22 Short Takes On The US Election

Finally, the long night of Donald Trump’s presidency is over. To date, the courts have been given no cause to conclude that the exhaustively lengthy counts of those mountains of mail ballots was anything other than legal. Stacking the US Supreme ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On How The US Supreme Court Is Undermining American Democracy

If Joe Biden is elected President next week, here comes the bad news. If Biden tries to defend Obamacare, combat climate change (via say, a variant of the Green New Deal) or tries to improve the access of US women to abortion services , he will run afoul ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog