The latest round of P5+1 talks over Iran’s nuclear program have begun in Almaty, Kazakhstan, for the first time since June — with Secretary of State John Kerry declaring that the window for negotiations won’t be open forever, “but it is open today.”
“As we’ve said again and again, an Iran with a nuclear weapon in that region, and given all that has happened, is simply unacceptable. And we have stated that they will not obtain a nuclear weapon. President Obama has been crystal clear about this,” Kerry said Monday from London.
“And as we’ve repeatedly made clear, the window for a diplomatic solution simply cannot by definition remain open forever. But it is open today. It is open now. And there is still time, but there is only time if Iran makes the decision to come to the table and to negotiate in good faith. We are prepared to negotiate in good faith, in mutual respect, in an effort to avoid whatever terrible consequences could follow failure,” he continued. “And so the choice really is in the hands of the Iranians, and we hope they will make the right choice.”
But Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said “we’ve seen this movie before, and we know how it ends.”
“I expect this week’s talks in Almaty to yield the same results as previous nuclear talks with Iran have: the members of the P5 +1 talks will try to coax Iran into giving up its nuclear weapons program without success, and Iran will continue to advance its enrichment process unimpeded. In fact, just this past weekend Iran announced that it has selected 16 new locations upon which to build nuclear plants,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
“The Six-Party talks aimed at bringing to an end North Korea’s nuclear program had the same dismal fate and failed to stop North Korea’s third nuclear detonation. North Korea has been cooperating with Iran on nuclear and military technology for decades now and the Administration still has not learned its lesson,” she continued. “Just like North Korea, Iran has forfeited all its rights under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by pursuing its covert nuclear ambitions and violating many U.N. Security Council resolutions.”
Negotiating with Iran are the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States – plus Germany.
“President Obama needs to realize that the time for talking and diplomatic niceties is long gone. The Administration must fully and vigorously enforce sanctions against Iran and those who assist Tehran in furthering its nuclear weapons program,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “The Administration should also realize anything short of that will unfortunately lead to a nuclear armed Iran sooner rather than later.”