At their meeting in April, the P5+1 – the Political Directors of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany – reaffirmed a determination to resolve shared concerns about Iran's nuclear program through direct diplomacy. The United States demonstrated its commitment to honest and respectful diplomacy with Iran, when it announced plans to participate fully in P5+1 discussions.
After the meeting, Dr. Javier Solana, the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, extended an invitation to the Iranian Government to meet representatives of the P5+1, with the goal of finding a diplomatic solution to this critical issue.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad responded to the announcement with an offer of a new package of proposals to the P-5+1 to end the stand-off over its nuclear ambitions.
It is unclear if Iran's proposal will fully address international concerns about Iran's continued expansion of its enrichment program and its lack of compliance with the demands of multiple U.N. Security Council resolutions to suspend its enrichment-related and reprocessing activities.
President Obama has made it clear that Iran has a right to nuclear energy, but with that right comes responsibilities, including the responsibility to address the international community's concerns and to restore international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.
U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood said that the U.S. is open to looking at a new Iranian package of proposals:
"Our hope will be that it addresses all of the concerns that the United States and other countries have about Iran's nuclear activities."
Suspension of enrichment and reprocessing activities remains the goal, said Mr. Wood.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that the U.S. welcomes dialogue with Iran over its nuclear program. But, she said, "We will continue to work with our allies to make it clear that Iran cannot continue to pursue nuclear weapons":
"We will stand behind the sanctions that have already been implemented, and we will look for new ways to extend collective action vis-à-vis Iran's nuclear program."
"At the same time," said Secretary of State Clinton, "we've made it clear to the Iranians on several levels, both bilaterally as well as through the P-5 + 1, that we are open to engagement with them."
It is now up to Iran's leaders to take advantage of this opportunity to give diplomacy the best chance of success.