|Iran nuclear accord only at last moment: French FM||
TEHRAN - French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says a nuclear agreement between Iran and the world powers could be reached at the last moment.
Speaking to a small group of senior American journalists in Washington on Tuesday as talks resumed in Vienna on a long-term nuclear agreement with Iran, Fabius said he could not forecast whether the negotiations would succeed by the July 20 expiration of the current interim accord, Al-Monitor reported.
He added that a nuclear agreement with Iran could only be reached if it deals seriously with the scale of Tehran’s centrifuge program and answers questions about the alleged past military dimensions of its nuclear work.
“If it is possible to reach agreement, okay. If not possible, also okay,” Fabius said. “We have to be firm, very serious and clear cut.”
He added if Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) do manage to reach agreement “it will be at the last moment.”
Fabius, who held up an interim deal for several weeks last fall to the apparent annoyance of Secretary of State John Kerry, laid down three conditions for a longer-term arrangement: It must be “comprehensive, … clear about the past” and resolve the issue of “breakout time.” On this last point, he explained, “We have to take such steps to be able to react if they decide not to fulfill their commitment.”
Fabius also suggested that Iran must agree to reduce the number of centrifuges it currently has installed (about 19,000) and is operating (around 9,000).
“On the centrifuges, it’s a basic element,” he said. “What is the idea to have a lot of centrifuges if it is not to have an atomic bomb? We have to [present] elements that are honest.”
Iran says it needs thousands of centrifuges to produce fuel for civilian reactors after its current agreement with Russia to supply the Bushehr reactor with fuel expires in nine years.
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