World / Europe

Seize the moment for breakthrough in Iran nuclear talks

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-02 17:02

BEIJING - It is regrettable that the negotiators toiling for days to reach a framework deal on Iran's nuclear issue have failed to do so before a self-imposed deadline on March 31, but the decision to extend the talks into Thursday still offers hope.

The recent talks on Iran nuclear issue in Lausanne, Switzerland, have been closely followed by the outside world, especially after all top diplomats of the P5+1 countries, namely the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany, arrived.

The intensive global attention for the negotiations is not without a good reason as the whole world knows the grave consequences of a nuclear-armed or a sanction-shattered Iran.

Since Iran decided to resume uranium enrichment activities in 2006, tension regarding the issue had been spiraling amid vicious interaction between the West threatening harsher sanctions and an increasingly defiant Tehran.

To the relief of many, the atmosphere changed for the better in late 2013 after Iran agreed to come to the negotiation table.

However, on-and-off talks since then did not produce any tangible results either. Hope for a deal was rekindled only recently by the latest round of talks in Switzerland, with various top diplomats making rare optimistic remarks in regard to a framework deal.

The world knows very little as to what has happened during the marathon-style behind-door talks in Lausanne, but it knows for sure that extending the deadline for another day is a proof that the highly-expected agreement is still hopeful.

At this delicate moment, all sides should refrain from any unilateral move that could weigh on the already taxing negotiation process. Instead, they should, as Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said, be determined to cap the lengthy talks with a deal and meet each other halfway.

More than one diplomats taking part in the talks have likened the current stage to the "last few meters before the finishing line" of the long race for a comprehensive deal on Iran's nuclear issue.

While it is a pity for a marathon runner to quit the race just before the finishing line, it is a grave mistake if negotiators simply decide to call it a day without putting up a fight to secure a long-anticipated deal.

The stakes are very high indeed, since a collapse of the talks would lead to months of stalemate over the issue at best, or raise the specter of a tit-for-tat confrontation between Tehran and the Western powers at worst.

To prevent such scenarios, parties involved should manage to set aside their differences over technological details but focus their energy on making timely political decisions.

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