Friday, October 20th | 30 Tishri 5778

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
August 8, 2013 9:20 am

The Time is Now for U.S.-Iran Talks

avatar by Alon Ben-Meir

Email a copy of "The Time is Now for U.S.-Iran Talks" to a friend

President Hassan Rouhani. Photo: Iranian government.

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 U.S. 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, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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.

Related coverage

June 30, 2016 3:51 pm
6

Entebbe: Are We Heeding the Lessons?

July 4th marks the 40th anniversary of the rescue of Israeli hostages at Entebbe. Today we are surrounded by international terrorism....

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.”

To clearly signal his readiness to negotiate in earnest, Rouhani 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 U.S. 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.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • JOHN TRAIN

    Supreme Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei has played a brilliant game in picking his new “moderate” president.

    Khamenei made Rouhani chief of Iran’s nuclear negotiations in 2003, for the same reason he made him president this time around – the man can talk a candy out of the western babies’ hands. Rouhani ran the negotiations between Iran and three European states in Tehran and continued later in Brussels, Geneva and Paris.

    Rouhani’s team back then was described as “the best diplomats in the Iranian Foreign Ministry.” They prevented further escalation of accusations against Iran, and so prevented Iran’s nuclear case from going to the UN Security Council. They figured out how to temporarily suspend parts of Iran’s nuclear activities to appease the West.

    And so, while building confidence, insisting on Iran’s rights, reducing international pressures and the possibility of war, and preventing Iran’s case from being reported to the UN Security Council, Iran succeeded in completing its nuclear fuel cycle and took groundbreaking steps to produce a nuclear weapon.

  • gord

    did i read somewhere he’s a holocaust denier?

Algemeiner.com