Iran Deal Near Final; Rouhani Speaks to Putin, Hollande, Cameron

A series of phone calls with world leaders signals deal over nukes in the home stretch, says analyst.

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Gil Ronen,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani
Reuters

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani conducted phone conversations with the leaders of Russia, France and Britain Thursday, in an indication that negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 nations over Iran's nuclear program have entered their “final stretch” and are very near completion, according to veteran Channel 2 Middle East analyst Ehud Yaari.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Rouhani “welcomed the progress in Iran's nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 group,” Kremlin press service Sputnik said.

The two leaders also reportedly expressed a hope that the latest round of nuclear talks, which recently kicked off in the Swiss city of Lausanne, would be successful, according to the statement. The talks are closing in on a March 31 deadline.

Putin and Rouhani also “exchanged views on the rapidly deteriorating situation in the Republic of Yemen,” the report said. “The Russian side stressed the importance of an immediate cessation of hostilities, and of efforts, including within the UN, to develop options for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.”

In Yemen the Saudis on Thursday began launching airstrikes against the Iran-backed Shi'ite Houthi militia that has been quickly conquering the country.

Rouhani reportedly told Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron that Tehran wants all sanctions against it lifted, while French President Francois Hollande reportedly called on Rouhani to accept the nuclear deal being offered by the P5+1 powers, which also include China, Germany and the US.

Israel has warned the deal being formulated would leave Iran with nuclear breakout capability, able to quickly produce a nuclear arsenal at the time of its choosing. It has pointed out that 17 nations have peaceful nuclear programs and none of them enrich uranium, as Iran is demanding it be allowed to continue doing.