World Powers Agree to Resume Nuclear Talks With Iran
BERLIN — For the first time in more than a year the global powers dealing with Iran’s disputed nuclear program said Tuesday that they would resume face-to-face negotiations.
“I have offered to resume talks with Iran on the nuclear issue,” said Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign affairs chief, who represents the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany in dealings with Iran. “We hope that Iran will now enter into a sustained process of constructive dialogue which will deliver real progress.”
The resumption of negotiations could relieve rising pressure from Israel to use military force against Iran. But the decision is not without risks. Direct talks could allow Iranian negotiators to exploit various nations’ differences. Failure could offer a rationale for military strikes.
Ms. Ashton’s positive response to an Iranian offer made last month to resume the talks comes at a delicate moment in the years-long effort to rein in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Her response came one day after President Obama urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to give diplomacy and economic sanctions a chance to work before taking military action.
The Israelis are increasingly skeptical that international pressure will lead Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment activities, which Israel and the West suspect are a cover for Iran to achieve the ability to make nuclear weapons. Iran has said the activities are purely peaceful.