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2013年10月21日 (月)

イラン核協議 外交的解決へ動き出すのか

The Yomiuri Shimbun October 21, 2013
Is a diplomatic solution on horizon over Iran’s nuclear program?
イラン核協議 外交的解決へ動き出すのか(10月20日付・読売社説)

Is it possible that the problem of Iran’s nuclear development program is moving toward a diplomatic solution? We should keep a close eye on this issue.

In recent talks in what is referred to as P5-plus-1 countries, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China—plus Germany, Iran has come up with a new proposal for constraining its nuclear program in return for easing international economic sanctions that have battered the Iranian economy.

The six powers have highly evaluated the Iranian proposal as an “important contribution” that could be conducive to accelerating future talks. The release of a joint statement at the close of the talks on Oct. 15 and 16, the first of its kind, also appears promising.

Although details of the talks have not been disclosed, Iranian officials said Tehran is set to rein in uranium enrichment levels. Iran appears to have made some concessions to the six major powers, which have demanded that Iran stop producing uranium enriched to 20 percent, a level that could lead to the manufacture of nuclear weapons.

Talks between Iran and the six countries have been held since 2008, but no progress has been made because of Tehran’s negative attitude.

During the stalemate, Israel hinted at the possibility of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities. With the heightening of tensions, a war of nerves racked the countries involved.

Whether Iran’s new proposal will push the talks forward remains uncertain.

Iran has taken a more positive stance since Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, took office as president of the Islamic republic in August in the wake of growing public discontent with the country’s severe economic hardships.

Obama’s leadership tested

Economic sanctions imposed at the initiative of the United States and European countries have halved Iran’s oil exports, the key source of revenue, causing inflation to spiral upward unchecked.

It seems the new Iranian president wants to resuscitate the faltering economy by having the United States and Europe lift the sanctions after offering a compromise.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has a final say in the country’s decision-making, basically appears to be in favor of Rouhani’s policies.

However, the leadership of U.S. President Barack Obama will now be tested.

Although Washington has had a hostile relationship with Tehran since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, Obama, in recent talks with Rouhani by phone, reached an agreement with the Iranian president to work together for a diplomatic solution to the nuclear problem.

If the United States embarks on actions to improve its relations with Iran, one of the Middle East’s major powers and a leading oil-producing country, the U.S. position in the region could be strengthened.

Negotiations with Iran, however, must be based on the premise of stopping Iran from going nuclear.

With the nuclear talks scheduled to resume next month, it is imperative for the six major powers to have Iran show its commitment through “meaningful, transparent and verifiable actions” never to undertake any project to develop nuclear weapons, as demanded by the United States.

Israel, for its part, does not disguise its intense distrust of Iran, saying Tehran “should be tested by its actions, not its proposals.”

Whether fears of Israel launching a military strike against Iran can be dispelled depends largely on how Tehran behaves from now on.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 20, 2013)
(2013年10月20日01時26分  読売新聞)


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