NEW YORK, Nov. 24, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In response to the recently announced extension of the P5+1 talks with Iran, AJC Executive Director David Harris made the following statement:
"Continuing negotiations, led with determination by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, are far better than a potentially incomplete, hastily-signed deal or an end to the talks. But, at the same time, the P5+1 cannot allow the negotiations process to be endless.
"The seven-month extension is the second such agreement since the P5+1 and Iran reached an interim deal a year ago. Reports suggest that the number of centrifuges and the process of removing international sanctions are the two main sticking points. We count on the P5+1 negotiators to hold their ground to ensure that Iran is not permitted to maintain or expand its enrichment capacity, and that the suspension of the sanctions does not get ahead of verified Iranian performance.
"As Secretary Kerry said in his remarks in Vienna today, 'First and foremost, the viable agreement would have to close off all of the pathways for Iran to get fissile material for a nuclear weapon.'
"Moreover, IAEA Director Yukiya Amano, addressing the board of the UN nuclear watchdog agency last Thursday, again warned that Iran has refused to fully cooperate—having failed both to provide access to suspect nuclear sites and information and to answer questions about the program's military dimension.
"We trust that the P5+1 members are ever mindful of Amano's warnings. He has repeatedly pointed out Iran's failure to comply with IAEA investigations, raising profound concerns that the program is not for solely civilian purposes.
"At this point in time, the international framework of economic and financial sanctions in place remains absolutely critical. In that spirit, we applaud President Obama's recent renewal of sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector. Additional sanctions, including measures on hold in the U.S. Congress, may be necessary to press Tehran—and to underscore our country's ongoing determination to prevent a nuclear Iran."
Harris added that the pressing concerns about Iran also include its weaponization programs, most notably the development of ICBMs, whose purpose is to deliver nuclear warheads; ongoing research on advanced centrifuges; and the heavy water reactor in Arak, whose sole aim, it can safely be assumed, is to produce plutonium for a nuclear weapon.
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SOURCE American Jewish Committee