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The Fruits of Diplomacy With Iran

Ambassador William J. Burns

(original source The New York Times) 

“WASHINGTON — In a perfect world, there would be no nuclear enrichment in Iran, and its existing enrichment facilities would be dismantled. But we don’t live in a perfect world. We can’t wish or bomb away the basic know-how and enrichment capability that Iran has developed. What we can do is sharply constrain it over a long duration, monitor it with unprecedented intrusiveness, and prevent the Iranian leadership from enriching material to weapons grade and building a bomb.

Those are the goals that have animated recent American diplomacy on the Iranian nuclear issue, including during the back-channel talks with Iran that I led in Oman and other quiet venues in 2013. Against a backdrop of 35 years without sustained diplomatic contact, filled with mutual suspicion and grievance, it was hardly surprising that our discussions were difficult, and our Iranian counterparts as tough-minded and skeptical as they were professionally skilled. But our efforts helped set the stage for the interim agreement, or Joint Plan of Action, concluded in November 2013.”

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