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Grasp opportunity for peaceful solution to Iranian nuclear issue

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)

08:13, May 25, 2012

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

Officials from the European Union and six world powers, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany, met with Iranian representatives in Baghdad on May 23 for a new round of nuclear talks.

There had been some positive signs ahead of the meeting. Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) held reportedly “fruitful” talks in Vienna from May 14 to May 15. The Iranian foreign minister said on May 19 that Iran will talk with the international community with “sincerity” about its controversial nuclear program. U.S. President Barack Obama recently said that leaders of the Group of Eight major economies agree that Iran “has the right to peaceful nuclear power.” IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano left for Iran on May 20 to develop a framework for solving the Iranian nuclear issue, which increased the agency’s level of dialogue with Iran.

It is worth noting that the current favorable atmosphere is achieved through dialogue. Talks over Iran’s nuclear program must continue. Analysts noted that the long-standing Iranian nuclear issue is not only a non-traditional security issue concerning nuclear proliferation, but also a traditional security issue concerning the geopolitical game in the Middle East.

Although the nuclear talks are bound to encounter difficulties and obstacles, all parties concerned must not be pessimistic in holding the talks. Changes in international relations are not just a subject of study, but can also be a rationality test. If there is one thing that we have learned from the history of international relations, it is that changes often help create a way out of seemingly desperate predicaments.

The United States missed an opportunity to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully 10 years ago, when Iran sought to improve its relations with the superpower through business cooperation and “civilized dialogue.” Instead of grasping the opportunity, the then U.S. president branded Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism and part of an “axis of evil,” and sent troops to Iran’s eastern and western flanks, prompting the country to restart its nuclear program. The nuclear talks have been held intermittently since then.

When we look at the U.S. policy toward Iran at the time, we can definitely call it a strategic failure. Fortunately though, the United States still has much room for maneuver in the Iranian nuclear issue. However, it will suffer another strategic failure if it abandons interaction and sticks to confrontation.

All parties concerned should grasp the great opportunity to peacefully solve the Iranian nuclear issue, and make efforts to hold pragmatic and positive dialogue, seek and expand consensus, and appropriately address disputes to build up mutual trust among the parties step by step. Only sincere communication and mutual respect will help translate the current favorable atmosphere into a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue.

Read the Chinese version: 推动伊核谈判需顺势而为

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