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U.S. and Iran Hold Talks, France to Follow Suit

France announces bilateral talks with Iran on its nuclear program, after Washington held similar talks with Iran.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/10/2014, 3:46 AM

Laurent Fabius
Laurent Fabius
Reuters

The United States on Monday held direct talks with Iran on its nuclear program, and France will follow suit, according to AFP.

"Bilateral discussions between France and Iran will take place on Wednesday," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said at a news conference in Algiers after Iranian and U.S. delegations began two days of direct negotiations in Geneva.

"After these discussions, there will also be discussions between the Iranians and the Russians. There may be others. Anyway, the three (countries) that I know about are the Americans, the Russians and the French," he added, according to AFP.

"The Americans gave us notice about these talks and we also said we would have talks with the Iranians,” said Fabius.

"It was agreed that after these talks we would consult with the six before seeing the Iranians again from June 16," he added, referring to the P5+1 of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany.

Senior Iranian and U.S. officials held what Tehran's top negotiator dubbed "constructive" talks on Monday, as Washington warned tough choices were needed for a lasting accord on Tehran's controversial nuclear program by a July 20 deadline.

The closed-door meeting in Geneva marks a new effort to find common ground between Tehran and Washington, amid concerns that tensions between the two could damage efforts to strike a deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers.

Iran and the six world powers reached an interim agreement in November, under which Iran committed to limit its uranium enrichment to five percent, halting production of 20 percent-enriched uranium.

In return, Iran is gradually winning access to $4.2 billion of its oil revenues frozen abroad and some other sanctions relief.

The sides want to turn the November deal into a lasting accord by July. A fourth round of nuclear talks ended last month with both sides complaining that major gaps remained ahead of the July 20 deadline.

Iran has urged the West to resist “any pressure from third parties” not directly involved in negotiations over its nuclear activities, a likely reference to Israel, which has warned against the interim nuclear deal signed with the Islamic Republic.