Talks this week between Iranian leaders and representatives of the United Nations Security Council on Iran’s nuclear program produced no concrete results. But they allowed the parties to offer potentially useful proposals, which neither side rejected.
The meeting followed a period during which the international community increased pressure on Iran with tighter economic sanctions. Previous sanctions have led to greater inflation in Iran, exchange-rate plunges for Iranian currency, and consumer shortages that reflect Iran’s difficulty in marketing critical petroleum exports.
Meanwhile, Iran has announced the installation of new equipment that permits faster enrichment of nuclear fuel, its discovery of new deposits of raw uranium, and the identification of 16 sites for the construction of nuclear power stations. Iranian officials continue to claim that their nuclear program has as its sole goal increasing Iran’s energy capacity, not building weapons.
The West reportedly offered Iran some relief from sanctions in return for modifications of weapons-related production. But significant concessions are considered unlikely before Iranian elections scheduled in June.
Still, both sides appeared to display a reasonably positive approach. Western nations, including the United States, seemed to negotiate more flexibly.
It is encouraging to see all parties consider each other’s ideas seriously, instead of just hurling threatening rhetoric at each other.