“Through diplomacy, we have an absolute responsibility to pursue an agreement.”
Talks between the P5+1 countries and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program will reconvene in Geneva on November 20th. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the earlier round of discussions that ended November 9, while not resulting in an agreement, had made “very significant progress in narrowing the gaps between our P5+1 partners and Iran.”
Mr. Kerry emphasized that the talks between the two sides are “not a race to complete just any agreement.” He reiterated that “no deal is better than a bad deal,” but aid, “Through diplomacy, we have an absolute responsibility to pursue an agreement.”
It is widely acknowledged that the economic sanctions imposed on Iran because of its failures to live up to its international nuclear obligations have induced Iran to come to the negotiating table.
“How irresponsible it would be to the concept of diplomacy, as well as the potential of any future use of force,” noted Mr. Kerry, “if we…just put the sanctions on and then ignore the opportunity to have a negotiation.”
Participating in a negotiation does not mean giving up anything. It means, said Secretary Kerry, putting “to the test what is possible and what is needed, and whether or not Iran is prepared to do what is necessary to prove that its program can only be a peaceful program.”
Mr. Kerry raised the question as to what the consequences would be if diplomacy were not actively pursued: “Iran,” he said, “will continue to ramp up enrichment activities and advance on the plutonium track, while we would risk losing the international coalition that has been built up to keep Iran isolated.”
Secretary of State Kerry underscored President Barack Obama’s commitment to “not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.” But he said, “The sanctions were put in place in order to bring about a negotiation because the first order of business of any super power is to exercise its power thoughtfully and respectfully…We must show the world we have exhausted every possible remedy and opportunity.”