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Experts, ex-officials urge Obama to change tactics on Iran

A group of 24 experts and former officials have called on US President Barack Obama to change tactics on Iran, warning against tougher sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“There should be an appropriate and proportional paring back of international sanctions on Iran,” the signatories, mainly researchers and former ambassadors of European countries to Tehran, wrote in a letter dated December 6, but published on Thursday.

The letter made mention of “ordinary Iranians suffering from the effects of the sanctions” and reminded the US president of his pledges to “resolve the Iranian nuclear issue diplomatically.” “Time is of the essence, and we hope you will utilize the weeks and months ahead to pursue a robust diplomatic initiative,” it said.

“We encourage you to direct your team vigorously to pursue serious, sustained negotiations with the Iranian government…With greater determination, creativity, and persistence, we believe that such a deal is within reach,” they wrote.

They also warned Obama against envisaging military option against Iran over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, saying it “would be counterproductive and costly.”

The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.

Iran argues that as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.

The letter likewise argued, “International sanctions…even if tightened further, are unlikely to stop Iran’s nuclear pursuits.”

In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities, but has never found any evidence of divergence towards military objectives in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear energy program.

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