Today, Peace Action West is joining a group of leading experts, diplomats and organizations in calling for the Obama administration to reinvigorate diplomacy with Iran.
From the National Iranian American Council’s press release:
On the eve of talks between the P5+1 and Iran in Istanbul, a diverse group of diplomats, arms control experts, Iran experts, democracy and human rights defenders, and leading Iranian-American, Jewish-American, and pro-peace organizations issued a statement urging the Obama Administration to reinvigorate diplomacy with Iran.
The experts include Ambassador John Limbert, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran; Sir Richard Dalton, the former British Ambassador to Iran; Bruno Pellaud, the former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency; Gary Sick, who served at the NSC as the principal White House adviser on Iran; and Chas Freeman, the former American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
As many politicians and pundits have been happy to proclaim diplomacy dead before the administration has seriously engaged Iran in a way that significantly departs from the failed attempts of the past, it is important to define what diplomacy actually means:
Reinvigorating diplomacy means seeking to engage Iran more persistently. The upcoming Istanbul meeting is only the fourth meeting on the nuclear issue involving both the United States and Iran, and no breakthrough can be expected without additional talks. Fortunately, time exists to pursue a diplomatic solution. Both US and Israeli officials have made public statements recently acknowledging that Iran remains years away from having the capability to construct a nuclear weapon.
Reinvigorating diplomacy also means pursuing realistic objectives. Unrealistic outcomes, such as insisting that Iran cease uranium enrichment entirely, however desirable, must be set aside. Focus should instead be placed on establishing monitoring and verification mechanisms that can ensure that Iran’s nuclear program is, indeed, used solely for peaceful purposes. Secretary Clinton stated in December that the United States would be prepared to recognize a peaceful enrichment program on Iranian soil. This is a productive step to achieve a satisfactory compromise for which the Administration should be commended.
Finally, reinvigorating diplomacy means addressing issues with Iran beyond the nuclear file. Tehran presents challenges and opportunities in many other areas of importance to US national security, including the stability of Afghanistan and Iraq, drug trafficking, and the human rights situation in Iran itself. The US should seek common ground in all areas of interest and not hold progress in one area hostage to resolution of others. Indeed, progress on human rights or Afghanistan may create a better climate for progress on the nuclear issue. The US engagement agenda must be expanded to reflect this.
Read the rest of the statement and see all the signers here.