The Middle East Channel

Can the nuclear talks with Iran be saved?

The world’s major powers are locked in a dead-end conflict with Iran over its nuclear program. Last week, talks in Istanbul between Iran and the five members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, ended badly, with no sign of a breakthrough on the horizon. As the former head of safeguards for the International Atomic ...

DON EMMERT/Staff, AFP/Getty Images
DON EMMERT/Staff, AFP/Getty Images

The world's major powers are locked in a dead-end conflict with Iran over its nuclear program. Last week, talks in Istanbul between Iran and the five members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, ended badly, with no sign of a breakthrough on the horizon.

As the former head of safeguards for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), I have spent much of the past decade watching the ups and downs of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. In the last few years, the stalemate has only deepened. During that time, I have learned that proposals and counterproposals too often fulfilled either one side's concerns or the other's, making it difficult to start the process of cooperation. Here's a proposal that could let both sides break this impasse and start rebuilding the trust needed to get at bigger issues.

The world’s major powers are locked in a dead-end conflict with Iran over its nuclear program. Last week, talks in Istanbul between Iran and the five members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany, ended badly, with no sign of a breakthrough on the horizon.

As the former head of safeguards for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), I have spent much of the past decade watching the ups and downs of negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. In the last few years, the stalemate has only deepened. During that time, I have learned that proposals and counterproposals too often fulfilled either one side’s concerns or the other’s, making it difficult to start the process of cooperation. Here’s a proposal that could let both sides break this impasse and start rebuilding the trust needed to get at bigger issues.

Read more.

 

Olli Heinonen, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, is a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, where he headed its Department of Safeguards.

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