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US and Iran Should Adopt Nixon's Yellow-Pad Method

John Limbert writes that the precedents for US-Iran negotiations are not good, and that it's time to use former president Nixon's "yellow pad" method, which distills items for negotiation into “what we want” and “what they want.” The exercise sounds simple, but it's not, especially given years of US-Iran estrangement and mutual hostility. 

According to reports from last weekend’s multilateral negotiations with Iran in Istanbul [April 13-14], the assembled diplomats agreed on two points:

  • The Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty forms a basis for engagement, which means Iran will not develop nuclear weapons and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — the so-called P5+1 — should respect Iran’s right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
  • The two sides will meet in Baghdad on May 23, preceded by a preparatory meeting of deputies.

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