Time for a deal

Time for a deal
Time for a deal

Seven former and current European officials have urged the major powers and Iran to do their best to reach a compressive deal on Tehran's nuclear program by the November 24 deadline.  

In a letter entitled "The time for a nuclear deal with Iran is now" which appeared on the website of the Guardian on Wednesday, the EU politicians said, "A failure to reach a final deal followed by escalated sanctions, tensions and Iranian isolation could result in greater incentives for Iran to (expand its nuclear program), more active undermining of western interests and an increasingly hair-trigger military standoff."

Among the signatories of the letter are Javier Solana, former European Union's high representative for common foreign and security policy, as well as former EU ministers and senior officials from Germany, Spain, Italy and Sweden.

They warned that "postponing the final tough decisions ahead is likely to provide more opportunities for those opposing the diplomatic track to spoil this process.

"This is especially so when creative technical solutions have been formulated and a deal is within reach – a deal that will peacefully and effectively address proliferation concerns of the EU3+3 (Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia, and China) over Iran’s nuclear program, while respecting Iranian legitimate aspirations and sovereignty."

The US Secretary of State John Kerry also told reporters on Thursday, "We are gearing up and targeting November 24. We’re not talking about or thinking about going beyond that date. That’s a critical date. And we believe it is imperative for a lot of different reasons to get this done," according to the website of the US Department of State.

Kerry made the remarks during a press conference following a meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris.

He is scheduled to travel to Oman to meet with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to discuss Iran's nuclear program on November 9-10. Catharine Ashton, who coordinates the negotiations on behalf of the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) will also join them.

The European politicians urged Europe to seize this moment "to encourage the negotiating parties to address the outstanding areas through reasonable compromises while steering clear of issues that are not essential to a good deal."

They also said, "To reach this stage of negotiations, Europeans have invested extensive resources by carrying the economic costs of an unprecedented sanctions regime against Iran," adding, "Europeans should also work with the US administration in reassuring skeptical regional allies of the long-term strategic benefits entailed in a final nuclear deal."

****Obama's Engagement With Congress

US President Barack Obama had said on Wednesday that it remains to be seen whether world powers and Iran are able to reach a comprehensive deal on Tehran's nuclear program before the November 24 deadline.

Obama said if a "good deal" is reached between Iran and the major powers he will "engage in Congress", according to a transcript of his press conference posted on the Washington Post website.

Republicans won control of the Senate in the US midterm elections on Tuesday for the first time in eight years and in the final two years of Obama's presidency.

Should Washington and the major powers reach an agreement with Iran, it is the US congress that can permanently roll back anti-Iran sanctions. Republicans have threatened to impose new sanctions or even revoke a possible deal that may be reached by November 24 after the end of Obama’s term.