Steinitz in France, Hoping to Influence Iran Talks

With 8 days left till nuke talks deadline, Intelligence Minister reportedly hopes France will toughen its stance still more.

Gil Ronen ,

Minister Yuval Steinitz
Minister Yuval Steinitz
Flash 90

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz flew to France Sunday, where he will meet with European foreign ministers in the hope of influencing the deal that is being negotiated with Iran over its nuclear weapons program.

There are only eight days left until the March 31 deadline for a framework agreement between the US and other powers and Iran. According to Walla news, Steinitz will try to lobby Britain, Germany and France to toughen their positions in the negotiations, but will focus on France, which is seen as the country toeing the hardest line in the talks.

In a message on Twitter on Friday that reflected the views of other French officials, Gérard Araud, France’s ambassador to the United States, warned against insisting on a firm March 31 deadline.

“Repeating that an agreement has to be reached by the end of March is a bad tactic,” Araud wrote. “Pressure on ourselves to conclude at any price.”

France is not happy about the length of time after which the sanctions on Iran are to be lifted – currently estimated at 10-15 years. France wants sanctions to be removed gradually, while Iran wants demands that the sanctions start to be relaxed immediately upon the signing of a framework agreement.

Along with the Head of the National Security Council, Yossi Cohen, Steinitz will try to convince the French to adopt still tougher positions, even at the price of scuppering the talks, according to Walla.