Talking with Iran

Critical meeting could result in at least an interim solution to nuclear program


This week, a second critical meeting is scheduled among officials of Iran, the United States, and other key members of the United Nations Security Council. The talks could result in at least an interim resolution of long-standing, dangerous problems with Iran’s nuclear program.

The stakes are high. The United States surely does not want to get involved in yet another Middle Eastern war, so soon after the conclusion of the eight-year Iraq war in 2011 and the end of the U.S. presence in the costly 12-year Afghanistan conflict, which is scheduled for next year.

Some hawks favor a U.S. attack on Iran if it does not agree to controls on its nuclear program, or U.S. support of an Israeli attack on Iran, which would inevitably lead to eventual U.S. participation in a regional war.

By contrast, an agreement with Iran could lead to the beginning of the end of 34 years of hostilities with that nation. Such an accord would create opportunities for American companies to resume a commercial relationship.

Economic sanctions on Iran are winding down. The window appears to be open to re-create what until 1979 were profitable trade and investment exchanges between the two countries. In 1978, before the Iranian revolution, the United States was Iran’s second largest trading partner.

Secretary of State John Kerry is directly involved in making these negotiations succeed and understands all of their ramifications. He needs a free hand to get the best deal for America that he can get.

He should pursue America’s interests, taking into account but not becoming bound by pressure from Iranian exiles in the United States, the political faction in Israel represented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, France, or other foreign parties.

These talks are vital. They can come out well for the United States. The timing is right for an agreement.