Remarks at a Symposium on P5+1 Iran Nuclear Negotiations

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Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and lead Iran U.S. negotiator, Wendy Sherman, spoke at the first day of a two-day conference on Iran’s Nuclear Negotiating Strategy, organized by the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The event was funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was well attended by the media. Stephen Del Rosso, director of the Corporation’s International Peace & Security Program was one of several attendees who attended a private half-hour meeting with the Under Secretary before her speech, and he reported back on her public remarks.

Sherman described CSIS as “renowned for organizing conferences… where men and women who make policy are able to dialogue with people who actually have time to think about policy, and that is a healthy and most necessary mix.” She thanked the Corporation and Norway, adding, “In recent decades, Norway has played a truly unique part in some of the more uplifting moments in Middle East diplomacy.”

She stressed how important the P5+1 negotiations with Iran are, explaining that an Iran equipped with nuclear arms would add an unacceptable element of instability and danger to a part of the globe that already has a surplus of both. “If Tehran had such a weapon, other countries in the region might well pursue the same goal, generating a potentially catastrophic arms race, intensifying the sectarian divide that is a major source of Middle East tension, and undermining the global nonproliferation regime that President Obama has consistently sought to reinforce,” she explained. “Iran will not, shall not obtain a nuclear weapon.”

Quoting the Persian poet Saadi, who almost 800 years ago advised listeners to “Have patience; all things are difficult before they become easy,” Sherman advised that, “Despite the intense efforts of negotiators from seven countries and the European Union, we are still in that ‘difficult’ stage. We must use the remaining time wisely and with a sense of urgency and purpose.”

Read the complete remarks and watch the video.