Leading article: Talk to Iran in good faith

Share
Related Topics

The news that Iran and the six major powers – the US, China, Russia, the UK, France and Germany – are to resume talks over Tehran's nuclear ambitions at the beginning of next month has to be welcomed. Of course, you can argue that it is just a gesture by Iran to stave off the sanctions threatened by the West should the country proceed with its uranium enrichment. Given Tehran's insistence on its absolute right to pursue uranium enrichment whatever the United Nations' objections, and given an internal crackdown which presages a sharp swing to the right, then it is easy to dismiss any talks as a sham behind which Iran will accelerate its plan to become a nuclear power.

But then think of the alternatives to talks. If negotiations were not resuming, we would be faced with an impasse in which the West is committed to introducing a whole range of new and punitive sanctions on the country and the Israelis might well feel free to bomb the facilities to prevent Tehran reaching its goal. Both avenues would bring on a confrontation that would play into the hands of Tehran's hardliners and risk, in the case of a military strike, a conflagration that could suck in the whole region.

Nor is it necessary to embark on such alternatives. Tehran may, or may not, wish to obtain command of nuclear technology, but at this moment it remains formally committed to a religious edict against such weapons and a continued membership of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty that would ban it from developing them. True, it has been accused of continuous evasion over its plans by the International Atomic Energy Agency. True, too, the government in Tehran seems to be swinging towards more oppression at home and greater anti-Western rhetoric abroad.

But the nuclear negotiations have always been handled separately from the rest of the government by a regime that treads carefully where its international interests are concerned. The Iranians are a proud and deeply nationalist people. But they are neither foolish nor xenophobic. It is better to take them at face value and pursue talks in good faith, rather than play crude power politics in a manner that could so easily end in disaster.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing Data Specialist

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Recruitment Genius: Search Marketing Specialist - PPC / SEO

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the UK's leadin...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This caravan dealership are currently recruiti...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Rafael Nadal is down and out, beaten by Dustin Brown at Wimbledon – but an era is not thereby ended  

Sad as it is, Rafael Nadal's decline does not mark the end of tennis's golden era

Tom Peck
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test