NEW YORK, June 20, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC praised the P5+1 for standing firm in this week's talks with Iran on its nuclear program.
"Not surprisingly, Iran has shown no willingness to negotiate in good faith," said AJC Executive Director David Harris, after the third round of international talks on Iran's nuclear program ended in stalemate. "Within days, Iran will face harsher sanctions from an increasingly impatient and understandably angry world."
"The point of the toughened sanctions is to press the regime to change its nuclear policy, not to harm the Iranian people," said Harris. "The fundamental issue is the regime's intent, and the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has concluded that Iran is undoubtedly seeking nuclear-weapons capacity and the means to deliver them."
The Moscow meeting between the five UN Security Council members and Germany with Iran was the third in a series of inconclusive negotiations that began in Istanbul in April and continued in Baghdad in May. Another round of high-level talks anytime soon is currently in doubt, though lower-level representatives may gather again in Istanbul on July 3.
Meanwhile, the EU boycott of Iranian oil will go into effect on July 1, and heightened U.S. sanctions targeting banks and firms doing business with Iran's Central Bank will be implemented on June 28.
"Just as the Iranian regime must be convinced of the tenacity of sanctions, the seriousness of the stated policy that all options on the table must be equally credible," said Harris. "We look to the U.S., as well as our European allies, to continue to exert vital leadership in confronting this grave threat to global security – a nuclear-armed Iran."
Iran rejected the P5+1 proposal that it stop enriching uranium to 20 percent; ship abroad its stockpile of 20 percent enriched uranium for reprocessing; and close the underground Fordow enrichment facility. In addition, Iran has spurned repeated IAEA requests to send inspectors to confirm that certain nuclear facilities do not have military purposes.
"Iran, regrettably, is using the talks with world powers to buy time and divert attention from advancements in its nuclear program," said Harris. "The Moscow talks only confirm the insincerity of the Iranian regime in finding ways to resolve this mounting crisis."
Last week AJC praised a bipartisan letter signed by 44 U.S. Senators urging the Obama Administration to rethink the utility of future talks with Iran unless specific, verifiable criteria are met.
"Amongst the absolute minimum steps it [Iran] must take immediately are shutting down of the Fordow facility, freezing enrichment above five percent, and shipping all uranium enriched above five percent out of the country," wrote the Senators.
The letter, spearheaded by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo), questioned the wisdom of any additional talks post-Moscow unless Iran agrees to these steps, adheres to UN Security Council resolutions and opens its facilities to thorough IAEA inspections.
SOURCE American Jewish Committee