Trea­sure the progress so far

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

The prin­ci­ples of mu­tual re­spect and rec­i­proc­ity should pre­vail when the par­ties ne­go­ti­at­ing on the Ira­nian nu­clear is­sue push for sub­stan­tial re­sults, a Peo­ple’s Daily ed­i­to­rial said on Fri­day. Iran and the P5+1 group of coun­tries (China, France, Rus­sia, the United King­dom, the United States and Ger­many) struck a deal in Geneva on Nov 24, in which Iran agreed to freeze part of its nu­clear pro­gram in ex­change for a lim­ited eas­ing of sanc­tions. This good mo­men­tum was nearly throt­tled at birth when the United States an­nounced new sanc­tions against the Is­lamic repub­lic ear­lier this month. In re­sponse, Iran de­clared it would with­draw from the talks.

For­tu­nately, Iran later said it would con­tinue to at­tend the ex­pertlevel talks on im­ple­ment­ing the ear­lier-reached nu­clear deal.

Such a set­back should not have been un­ex­pected. The US and Iran are both fac­ing mount­ing pres­sures from those at home and abroad who op­pose any deal. Po­lit­i­cal forces in Wash­ing­ton and Te­heran, un­sat­is­fied with the deal, have tried to block fur­ther talks. Is­rael has ex­plic­itly ex­pressed its op­po­si­tion to the pre­lim­i­nary deal, while some Arab coun­tries have said they are also deeply wor­ried.

Not to men­tion that there are gray ar­eas in the deal, which leave room for rein­ter­pre­ta­tion. Such am­bi­gu­ity has cre­ated con­di­tions for the par­ties con­cerned to strike a deal but it will also add new un­cer­tain­ties for fol­low-up ac­tions.

But dan­ger­ous po­lit­i­cal moves, such as the episode ear­lier this month, if not skill­fully han­dled, will harm the hard-won at­mos­phere for talks.

The pre­lim­i­nary deal is an im­por­tant step in re­solv­ing the Ira­nian nu­clear is­sue through diplo­matic means. Seek­ing a peace­ful res­o­lu­tion to the is­sue is in the in­ter­ests of both the US and Iran, and also the rest of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity. To con­tinue to push for talks, both Wash­ing­ton and Te­heran need to show a strong po­lit­i­cal will and sin­cer­ity and prop­erly cope with the ob­sta­cles ahead.

As a mem­ber of the P5+1, China will con­tinue to push for di­a­logue and ne­go­ti­a­tion and play a con­struc­tive role in push­ing for a com­pre­hen­sive, proper so­lu­tion to the Ira­nian nu­clear is­sue. All par­ties con­cerned should con­tinue to build on the good mo­men­tum and push for the talks to yield sub­stan­tial re­sults at an early date.

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