Fabius: Iran deal still blurry as deadline approaches

France sees no breakthrough in Iran’s nuclear negotiations between Tehran and West as deadline nears to seal final agreement

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Sunday that sealing a final agreement regarding Iran’s long standing nuclear program was still unclear despite the fact that the self-imposed deadline runs out on June 30.

Fabius has said he would meet with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad zarif on Monday to asses the latest phase of the negotiations which have been maintained since last year by Iran and the world powers, dubbed P5+ 1, including the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany.

The West has long been claiming that Iran was seeking to obtain nuclear bombs through its massive nuclear activities, but Tehran denies all allegations and accusations and says its nuclear programme would aim to meet civilian needs of energy demands.

After a decade of deadlock, Iran and the P5+ 1 group reached a preliminary framework nuclear agreement in Switzerland by the beginning of April.

"Towards the end of next week the ministers will go (to the talks), so I'd like to have an explanation and conversation to see where the Iranians are," Fabius told reporters in Cairo.

“We're at a stage where the Iranians have to tell us what's in their mind and I'll explain to them that France wants a robust accord, but that means verifiable, because an agreement that is not verifiable is an agreement that is not implemented," he added.

Fabius is scheduled to meet with Zarif on the sidelines of the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on Monday when the Iranian FM is also expected to meet with all the European parties negotiating with Tehran.

The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged Fabius when they met on Sunday to "stand firm and prevent a bad deal" with Iran.

Fabius reiterated in Jerusalem saying that: "I will see Iran negotiator tomorrow, but at the point where we are things are not clear. There is a need to clarify, make precise and ensure the deal is robust."

France is known for its hard stance towards Iran’s nuclear negotiations which knotted around Iran’s unwillingness to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in the watchdog’s investigation of Iran’s nuclear sites whereas Tehran insists on an immediate lifting of the sanctions.

Earlier this month, the IAEA said Iran’s unwillingness to cooperate with the international investigators would cause a  transparency problem, without that the watchdog said it cannot "conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."

The international nuclear watchdog urged Tehran on more cooperation and willingness for its investigation on  the nuclear issue until the punitive sanctions imposed by the West are completely lifted following a prospective final deal.

The preliminary deal reached in Switzerland between the parties specifies that Iran will decrease two thirds of its uranium enrichment centrifuges and limits the level of enrichment to 3.67 percent, which would prevent Iran from making a nuclear bomb. Many of the restrictions will expire in 15 years.

The deal also decreases Iranian uranium stockpiles from 10,000 kilograms to 300 which will be enriched only by Arak Nuclear Reactor under the inspection  of the IAEA.  

In return, the 10-year-deal promises Iran that all UN sanctions on Tehran will end with Iran’s fulfilment of the criteria within a planned calendar, after a July 1 final deadline was agreed between Iran and the West.  

But the West insists upon a complete removal of sanctions that would depend on the IAEA’s full-fledged access into Iran’s nuclear facilities and freely deliver a comprehensive report on its findings which will confirm or deny the allegations and accusations attributed to Tehran.

The IAEA investigates some 12 alleged activities in Iran’s long-disputed nuclear programme which is believed by the West to have been aiming to obtain nuclear bombs, including suspicions that Tehran was working on the development of a nuclear payload for missiles.

Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei labeled the Western terms as being “arrogant demands” and rejected the full access of the international watchdogs to all Iranian nuclear facilities last month.


TRTWorld and agencies