Reuters reports: France warned of serious stumbling blocks to a long-sought accord with Iran as unity among Western powers seemed to fray in talks on getting Tehran to curtail a nuclear program seen as a bomb risk in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.
Iranian media quoted the Islamic Republic’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, as saying “the issues are serious and there is still a gap in stances”, and that the talks would probably end later in the day and be resumed at a later date.
As discussions stretched on, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius was doubtful whether they would soon succeed in nailing down an interim deal that would begin to defuse fears of a stealthy Iranian advance towards nuclear arms capability.
“As I speak to you, I cannot say there is any certainty that we can conclude,” Fabius said on France Inter radio, stressing that Paris could not accept a “sucker’s deal”.
His pointed remarks hinted at a rift brewing within the Western camp. A Western diplomat close to the negotiations said the French were trying to upstage the other powers.
“The Americans, the EU and the Iranians have been working intensively together for months on this proposal, and this is nothing more than an attempt by Fabius to insert himself into relevance late in the negotiations,” the diplomat told Reuters, speaking on the condition of anonymity. [Continue reading…]