Iran & US: Keep talking

THE United States has urged the UN Security Council to increase sanctions on Iran for refusing to freeze its nuclear programme. The US call has come a day after an informal deadline lapsed for Iran to respond to an offer of talks by the US and other big players of the UN.

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Published: Tue 5 Aug 2008, 9:43 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:54 PM

Interestingly, the day the so-called deadline for talks was to end, Ahmadinejad declared Iran's willingness to hold talks with the West to resolve the nuclear crisis. In unusual remarks broadcast live on state television during a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, the irrepressible Iran president emphasised Teheran's seriousness about talks saying such negotiations should be "based on the law, so they bear practical results."

So there's a clear communication gap between the US and Iran on the issue. This is rather unfortunate considering only recently Washington decided to dash off its high-profile assistant secretary of state William Burns to join direct negotiations with Teheran. That rare encounter in Geneva had given rise to much hope in the Middle East about the peaceful resolution of the issue.

As this newspaper has repeatedly argued, this sensitive region, already suffering from the disastrous consequences of many present and past conflicts, can hardly afford another conflagration. This is why it is vital that Iran and the West, especially Teheran and Washington, keep talking. Agreed, these talks have so far failed to bear results. But continuing talks will at least diminish the possibility of another pointless war. And jaw-jaw is any day better than war-war, as a veteran British practitioner of the art argued.

As for the US call for more sanctions against the Islamic republic, this is a bad idea. There are already several military, political and economic sanctions against Teheran in place. And they haven't made any difference to the Ayatollahs' craving for nuclear power. Instead these sanctions have ended up victimising ordinary people, as they always do.

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