Former foreign ministers release statement on P5+1, Iran

Former foreign ministers from 13 countries said it is in the world's best interest to continue and support negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran, according to a recent statement from the Aspen Institute.

The group of former foreign ministers, including representatives from North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region and the Middle East, said it made sense to commit to intensive negotiations with Iran while it halts its nuclear program. The foreign ministers said the interim agreement between the P5+1 and Iran shows promise and must be given adequate time.

"We say this both encouraged and mindful of the history and the progress made," the foreign ministers said. "It has been seven years since the P5+1 offered negotiations to Iran and 34 years since the United States has had a significant conversation with the Iranians. Now, (Iranian) President (Hassan) Rouhani has signaled a revived interest in engaging in discussions on Iran's nuclear program, and the interim agreement that is on the table provides a real promise for resolving this issue diplomatically. It must be given time."

The foreign ministers said the suggestion to unblock a portion of Iran's frozen assets is a small concession to help achieve deeper goals. According to the statement, depriving the world of an interim agreement would leave only the choices of using force to stop Iranian nuclear capacity or acquiescing to Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

"The interim agreement would constitute an important step in a long process," the foreign ministers said. "We must support the efforts of the P5+1 to reach such an interim agreement and then continue their good efforts to seek a comprehensive agreement. We call upon the government of Iran to agree to a freeze, to open up its country to full (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspections, and to abide by all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions."

The foreign ministers signing the statement included Madeline Albright, former U.S. secretary of state, and Shlomo Ben-Ami, former Israeli minister of foreign affairs.