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Crucial months ahead for Iran

Updated: 2013-11-26 07:22
( China Daily)

Although it might be too early to say that Sunday's preliminary deal reached between Iran and world powers in Geneva is epoch-making, it is certainly an important step forward in international efforts to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means.

Crucial months ahead for Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (C), flanked by members of his delegation, attends talks over Iran's nuclear programme in Geneva November 22, 2013. [Photo / Agencies]

Under the deal, Iran will freeze its controversial nuclear program for the next six months in exchange for an easing of the sanctions imposed by the West that have crippled Iran's economy. This is the first agreement since the P5+1 powers -Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany - launched the on-and-off talks with Iran in 2006.

As a member of the P5+1 mechanism, China has played a constructive role in pushing the talks to yield positive results. Based on the principle of impartiality, it has maintained intensive communication with all sides and urged direct talks between Teheran and Washington.

All parties concerned should value this hard-won result and promptly implement their agreement to the letter so that the current good momentum can be sustained and pave the way for a lasting solution to the issue.

The next six months will be crucial if any further progress is to be made. Although the US and the Iranian governments have expressed optimism, concerns and even opposition have emerged from both countries as well as from Israel, the US' closest ally in the Middle East.

Whether the present deal can be implemented hinges on Iran's compliance with its commitments and the Barack Obama administration's ability to convince both parties in the US Congress as well as Israel that the arrangement will be sufficient to prevent Iran from advancing its nuclear program.

The coming months will be a test of the political wisdom, patience and sincerity of both countries. It is hoped the two sides will continue to shore up pragmatism and pass the test with good grades.

Progress in the Iranian nuclear issue is ready proof that dialogue and negotiation are the only viable way for the international community to address controversial issues of regional or international concern. It could shed light into the resolving of similar issues the world is facing today, such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

(China Daily 11/26/2013 page8)