Treasure the progress so far

Updated: 2013-12-23 07:27

(China Daily)

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The principles of mutual respect and reciprocity should prevail when the parties negotiating on the Iranian nuclear issue push for substantial results, a People's Daily editorial said on Friday.

Iran and the P5+1 group of countries (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany) struck a deal in Geneva on Nov 24, in which Iran agreed to freeze part of its nuclear program in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions. This good momentum was nearly throttled at birth when the United States announced new sanctions against the Islamic republic earlier this month. In response, Iran declared it would withdraw from the talks.

Fortunately, Iran later said it would continue to attend the expert-level talks on implementing the earlier-reached nuclear deal.

Such a setback should not have been unexpected. The US and Iran are both facing mounting pressures from those at home and abroad who oppose any deal. Political forces in Washington and Teheran, unsatisfied with the deal, have tried to block further talks. Israel has explicitly expressed its opposition to the preliminary deal, while some Arab countries have said they are also deeply worried.

Not to mention that there are gray areas in the deal, which leave room for reinterpretation. Such ambiguity has created conditions for the parties concerned to strike a deal but it will also add new uncertainties for follow-up actions.

But dangerous political moves, such as the episode earlier this month, if not skillfully handled, will harm the hard-won atmosphere for talks.

The preliminary deal is an important step in resolving the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means. Seeking a peaceful resolution to the issue is in the interests of both the US and Iran, and also the rest of the international community. To continue to push for talks, both Washington and Teheran need to show a strong political will and sincerity and properly cope with the obstacles ahead.

As a member of the P5+1, China will continue to push for dialogue and negotiation and play a constructive role in pushing for a comprehensive, proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. All parties concerned should continue to build on the good momentum and push for the talks to yield substantial results at an early date.

(China Daily 12/23/2013 page10)