The Elders this week welcomed the interim agreement reached in Geneva between the P5+1 group of countries and the Islamic Republic of Iran on Iran’s nuclear programme.

“After years of inconclusive negotiations, this is an important step forward in restoring confidence between Iran and the international community,” said Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders and former UN Secretary-General. “I hope it will be swiftly followed up with practical measures to put the agreement into effect.”

The Elders have followed closely efforts made in recent months by the Iranian leadership and the P5+1 to put the past behind them and reach early agreement on the nuclear issue.

“We are all aware of the risks involved,” added Jimmy Carter, Elder and former US President. “But I am convinced that, after thirty five years of animosity and distrust, there is an historic opportunity to rebuild relations with the Government and people of Iran on solid foundations of mutual respect.”

Fellow Elder Martti Ahtisaari, the former President of Finland, said: “The moment of truth has arrived. Either we go forward and build on this interim accord, or we shall inevitably go backwards. These are serious negotiations, which must be given a chance to reach fruition.”

The Elders are independent leaders using their collective experience and influence for peace, justice and human rights worldwide. The group was founded by Nelson Mandela in 2007. The Elders are Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan (Chair), Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland (Deputy Chair), Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jilani, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo.

Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are honorary Elders.

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