December 2, 2013 
Taleen Ananian, 202.778.4993 

WASHINGTON – The Atlantic Council’s Iran Task Force, chaired by Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat and coordinated by Council Senior Fellow Barbara Slavin, issued a statement today that the agreement signed Nov. 24 in Geneva by Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany is a “promising potential turning point” in curbing Iran’s nuclear program and repairing Iran’s fraught relations with the United States and the international community. The agreement also mirrors many of the recommendations set forth by the Task Force earlier this year.

Full text of the Task Force statement:

When the Iran Task Force was launched in 2010, its principal goal was to “answer the question of whether there are elements within [Iran] and the region that can build the basis for an improved relationship with the West and how these elements, if they exist, could be utilized by US policymakers.” At the time, the prospects for such an improved relationship seemed dim. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had just been re-elected Iranian president in elections widely condemned for fraud and the Iranian government had brutally repressed pro-democracy demonstrators. The Iranian nuclear program, in Ahmadinejad’s words, was a “train without brakes” and Iran was moving closer to the capability to quickly build nuclear weapons.

We believe that the joint plan of action signed by Iran, the United States, the other permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, will constrain Iran’s nuclear advances in return for modest proportionate sanctions relief. Indeed, the agreement in many ways – including its emphasis on facilitating humanitarian transactions permitted under sanctions – mirrors the recommendations of the Iran Task Force issued in March 2013. Realizing the difficulties that lie ahead in achieving a final agreement, we applaud the efforts of the many diplomats from all seven nations and the European Union as well as the hosts of negotiations for bringing us to this promising potential turning point. We hope the signatories will now implement their promises and achieve a comprehensive agreement in six months. 

A final agreement would create a more constructive framework for the United States and Iran to deal with other issues of concern, including Afghanistan, the Arab-Israeli dispute, the war in Syria, terrorism and Iranian tensions with Arab state across the Persian Gulf.

Stuart Eizenstat, chairman, Iran Task Force; Barbara Slavin, Senior Fellow and Coordinator, Iran Task Force; and members: Odeh Aburene, Michael Adler, James Cartwright, Joseph Cirincione, Michael V. Hayden, Jim Moody, John Limbert, Trita Parsi, Thomas R. Pickering, William Reinsch, Richard Sawaya, Greg Thielmann, Harlan Ullman

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