France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has dismissed rumors that a new target date may be set for the conclusion of a deal on Iran’s nuclear program as ongoing negotiations are expected to go past the June 30 deadline.
“We agreed not to set a date,” Fabius told reporters in New York, where he was to attend a UN event on climate change, adding that the negotiators have deliberately decided not to extend the talks in order to reach a conclusion.
Iran and the P5+1 group – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – had set June 30 as the deadline to agree on a final deal on Tehran’s nuclear program, but reports suggest the talks will miss the target date as some issues still remain unresolved between the two sides.
Iran had previously said that it is not pressed for time in reaching a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif saying on June 20 that the talks are very likely to continue beyond June 30. Senior officials in the US administration have also acknowledged that talks could miss the deadline by a few days.
Elsewhere, Fabius said, “We have made some progress, but still it is not the end of the process,” adding that he is planning to return to Vienna later this week where negotiators have been trying to settle the remaining differences.
“In particular, Iranians are asking precisions about lifting of sanctions … and we on the P5+1 side, we are asking for some precision,” he said.
Fabius said France seeks to reach a “good” agreement with Iran.
Compared to other members of the P5+1, France has adopted a more aggressive tone with regard to Iran’s nuclear program, asking Tehran to agree to inspections of its non-nuclear sites, including the military ones, among other conditions.
Iran, however, has unequivocally ruled out giving access to its military sites with the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei describing the inspections as a “red line.”