Talks on track: The Iran negotiations must keep moving forward

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The talks in which America is involved on Iran’s nuclear program and economic sanctions are proceeding well despite some opposition to their success in both countries.

The United States is one of six nations that together are trying to reach agreement with Iran. The rest are the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — China, France, Russia and the United Kingdom — plus Germany. They are led by European Union foreign secretary Catherine Ashton.

The talks were launched with a temporary agreement in January, which included limits by Iran on development of its nuclear program, which it maintains has only peaceful goals, not an eventual nuclear weapons capacity. In return, the six countries relaxed some financial sanctions on Iran.

Several rounds of talks have occurred in Geneva and in Vienna. In the meantime the International Atomic Energy Agency has been active in Iran, inspecting facilities and overseeing Iran’s observance of the preliminary deal, which will expire July 20. The IAEA judges that Iran is respecting its end of the agreement. The partial relaxation of sanctions has not brought a new day to Iran’s staggering economy, but European, American and other investors are paying attention and watching progress in the talks.

U.S. lawmakers, led by Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, have risked torpedoing the talks by rejecting Iran’s nomination of a new ambassador to the United Nations for his minor role in the 1979 hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. The Obama administration denied a visa to the nominee, an action inconsistent with the role of the U.N. host, which receives many delegations from around the world, including Cubans, North Koreans and Syrians in the Bashar Assad government. Iran, which may object to the visa decision at the United Nations, appears willing to pursue the negotiations anyway. The next meeting is scheduled for May 13, at which formal writing of the accord may begin.

Of the three negotiations on the Middle East that Secretary of State John Kerry is pursuing, between the Israelis and Palestinians and toward ending the Syrian conflict, the Iran talks seem to be proceeding most fruitfully at the moment. The United States cannot afford to let them get off track.

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