Hopes of dialogue with Iran over its nuclear development program have just been raised again.
On the face of it, all that is needed is for Iran’s President Mr. Ahmadinejad make a call to set a time and place for talks.
Can it be that easy?
Or are there still some obstacles to be overcome?
In the vein of other blogs on this website, Antipodean Village Blogger hopes that officials from nuclear-free New Zealand have maintained a steady watch on this Iran-US stand-off, and registered their interest in offering any assistance that they could along the way.
The United States President Obama himself has charged New Zealand Prime Minister John Key with doing all he can to support momentum to create a nuclear-weapons-free world. Could this be an opportunity to do something?
Mr. Ahmadinejad has been in New York this week for United Nations meetings. There he said on Tuesday 21st September to a group of reporters at a breakfast how “new talks over the program were ‘bound to happen’.” He explained that this was so because “what is left is talks…There’s no other way.”
In response, the major powers have also indicated an interest in re-engagement. The 5 permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany (the “P5+1” group) responded after meeting at the European Union office in New York. Through the European Union chief diplomat Catherine Ashton the group said how their
“objective continues to be a comprehensive, long-term negotiated solution which restores international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, which respecting Iran’s legitimate right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy”
She reaffirmed how “We remain determined and united in our efforts for this purpose.”
Following up on this statement, the State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley made the resumption of dialogue look quite easy. He said “if Iran is interested in serious dialogue, it need only contact E.U. diplomacy chief Ashton.” He then elaborated,
“To the extent that President Ahmadinejad has indicated in some of his statements that he’s hopeful that talks will resume and perhaps soon, all we would do is encourage him to call Lady Ashton and provide a date and a location ….We’ve been waiting for Iran to agree to re-engage both within in the P5+1 context and also within the IAEA. We believe that Iran knows Cathy Ashton’s number and we would hope that they would call. “
Does this situation provide an interesting opportunity constructive input by some party like New Zealand? I wonder if some New Zealand politicians or diplomats could be checking out with their Iranian counterparts, possibly including Mr Ahmadinejad himself, as to whether he could do something like what Mr Crowley is proposing. If there are obstacles, perhaps these could then be then expressed, looked into and addressed.
I am sure the villagers who campaigned and voted for local nuclear free zones and a nuclear-weapons-free world throughout the country in the 1980s would be delighted if their representatives were to act in ways like this.
Comments most welcome