Sixteen months after signing the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), the deadline for Iran and the P5+1 to reach a political framework on the nuclear deal is fast approaching. The American Iranian Council urges support for a fair deal that will deliver sanctions relief to Iran and preserve its civilian nuclear program in return for verifiable guarantees that Iran’s nuclear activities, including its uranium enrichment, remain peaceful in intent and action. Hopefully, such a deal will provide a diplomatic solution to a decade-long thorny international issue.
Because the stakes are so high, the AIC wishes to emphasize that the ball is now in the US’s court to deliver. Iran has already offered not only full compliance with its obligations outlined in JPOA, but even concessions that are well beyond the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in an attempt to build confidence with the international community. However, it appears that the US and others may be playing a complicated game with Iran designed to extract maximalist concessions.
In order to make a strong final push for the deal, the Council calls on the American nuclear negotiators to deliver relief from sanctions, especially those imposed on Iran’s banking industry. While the AIC has for 25 years been staunchly opposed to all sanctions, including the so-called “targeted sanctions,” we believe that the tactical key to reaching a deal is for the US to offer Iran meaningful sanctions relief, as otherwise the Rouhani government will not be able to sell the deal to the Islamic Republic’s revolutionaries.
While we unequivocally support a fair nuclear deal, including the political framework being negotiated, we also strongly believe that for such a deal to be deliverable in Tehran, Washington, and other regional capitals, it must be built on a sustainable basis. Toward this purpose, we believe the deal must first and foremost pave the way for normal US-Iran relations and the reduction of tension with other regional players. The truth is that Iran’s nuclear file cannot become “normal” while relations between the two countries remain “abnormal.”
Thus, we wish to emphatically call for a parallel broadening of US-Iran dialogue to include other issues and stakeholders. The P5+1 must be expanded to include key regional states. The Middle East is in turmoil and will remain so for many years. With the US, Iran and other regional players facing multiple crises, a limited nuclear deal is simply not enough or even sustainable. The players, the US and Iran in particular, must get past their mistrust and work towards reconciliation and a more stable Middle East.
The American Iranian Council