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US, Iran cannot afford another missed opportunity

In his new book, Seyed Hossein Mousavian recounts new details of how the chances for US-Iran engagement after 9/11 and the 2003-2005 nuclear negotiations were wasted, at great cost.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (L) and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wait for the start of talks in Vienna May 14, 2014. Six world powers and Iran launch the decisive phase of diplomacy over Tehran's nuclear work during three-day talks starting in Vienna on Wednesday, with the aim of resolving their decade-old dispute by July 20 despite skepticism a deal is possible. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger  (AUSTRIA - Tags: POLITICS ENERGY) - RTR3P1ZA
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The talks between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and Iran are moving “very slowly and with difficulty,” Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said May 16 after the conclusion of the latest round of negotiations in Vienna. The next day, lead Iranian negotiator and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted, “Back from Vienna after tough discussions. Agreement is possible. But illusions need to go. Opportunity shouldn't be missed again like in 2005.”

A comprehensive nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, ending three decades of estrangement, hostility and sanctions, has never been closer, but it would be a tragedy if the current round of talks ended up on the list of missed opportunities between the United States and Iran, as I recount in my new book co-authored with Shahir Shahidsaless, "Iran and the United States: An Insider’s View on the Failed Past and the Road to Peace."

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