Iran nuclear talks will turn into ‘increase’

Iran nuclear talks will turn into ‘increase’

Leading former diplomats including seven ex-UK foreign and defence ministers have warned that the Iran nuclear talks are going to escalate into a cycle of increased nuclear tension and urged Tehran and Washington to show more flexibility.

The signatories to the open letter are former senior diplomats in 14 countries including former foreign secretary Jack Straw, former defence secretaries Lord King and Des Browne, as well as former Conservative Middle East minister Alistair Burt.

They say the legacy of Trump's strategic error in leaving the agreement can be measured in the tons of enriched uranium Iran has accumulated, including uranium enriched to near-weapons grade, in the thousands of advanced centrifuges it is spinning and in the rapidly decreasing timeframe for Iran to reach a breakout capability. The US left the nuclear deal in 2018. On his election as president, Joe Biden said he wanted to rejoin so long as Iran came back into compliance with the agreement on nuclear non-proliferation.

Israel fears that the US administration will adopt a plan to keep sanctions on the elite foreign arm of the IRGC, the al Qaeda force, but to lift the designation on the IRGC domestically.

The letter authors acknowledge that the politics of the foreign terrorist organisation designation are difficult, but insist that there are ways to provide the counter-terrorism benefits of the current designation while still accommodating Iran's specific request, and consider it imperative that these be fully explored. Iran should not expect a nuclear deal to address broader disagreements between Tehran and Washington. Both sides must approach this final phase of negotiations with an understanding that the strategic implications of failure would be grave and profound.