International leaders have agreed to resume face-to-face negotiations with Iran over the nation's nuclear program after talks broke down more than a year ago. “I have offered to resume talks with Iran on the nuclear issue,” said EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany in dealings with Iran. “We hope that Iran will now enter into a sustained process of constructive dialogue which will deliver real progress.” The offer comes as Iran is agreeing to allow UN inspectors to examine its Parchin military installation. Iran reached out last month and asked that talks be resumed. Negotiations now might relieve some of the mounting pressure for an Israeli strike on the country, but failure to make progress could be costly, notes the New York Times.
“If you have talks going, it will make it much harder for the Netanyahu government to take military action,” Trita Parsi, president of the advocacy group the National Iranian American Council, tells the Times. “It is critical that the talks end up becoming a real negotiation, a real process, and not just another exchange of ultimatums. If the two sides fail to establish a process rather than just another meeting, the risk of war will rise significantly.”