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France says more work needed for Iran nuclear deal

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday more work needed to be done to reach a deal on Iran's contested nuclear programme as a deadline at the end of March looms over the talks.



Riga: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Friday more work needed to be done to reach a deal on Iran's contested nuclear programme as a deadline at the end of March looms over the talks.

"There has been progress but as regards the numbers, controls and the length of the agreement, the situation is still not sufficient, so there is more work to be done," Fabius said on the sidelines of an EU foreign ministers meeting in Latvia.

Fabius gave no figures but key issues in the talks which began in late 2013 include the level of uranium enrichment that Iran should be allowed, the degree of international oversight of its programme and how long an accord should last.

"The deadline is March 31 but in the event, it could be later although everyone wants to make progress by the end of the month," Fabius said.

Fabius will host a meeting in Paris on Saturday with his US, British and German counterparts -- John Kerry, Philip Hammond and Frank-Walter Steinmeier -- along with EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini to review progress in the negotiations.

The P5+1 group of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany wants an accord that would prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.

In return, the West would ease damaging sanctions on Iran, which insists its nuclear programme is purely civilian.

Tomorrow's Paris talks cap an intense week of exchanges, with Kerry meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Switzerland over several days.

Earlier today, Mogherini said she believed "a good deal is at hand," adding that a successful outcome now depended more on political will than on technical negotiations.

The talks have been extended several times. The end-March deadline is for a political agreement, with the overall deal to be concluded by the end of June.

From Zee News

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