France Sets Three Conditions for Deal with Iran

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius sets three “indispensable” conditions for a nuclear deal which he says Iran hasn't yet met.

Elad Benari ,

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Saturday set three “indispensable” conditions for a nuclear deal with Iran.

Speaking to reporters upon his arrival in Vienna for the latest round of nuclear talks, Fabius said Iran has yet to accept these conditions in order to ensure a 'solid' agreement with major powers.

"What we want is a robust deal that recognizes Iran's right to civil nuclear power, but guarantees that Iran gives up definitively the nuclear weapon," the French minister said, according to Reuters.

"For this there are three indispensable conditions: a lasting limitation of Iran's research and development capacity, a rigorous inspection of sites, including military if needed, and the third condition is the automatic return of sanctions in case it violates its commitments," he added.

Iran and the six world powers are trying to achieve a deal by a deadline of June 30, which is just around the corner, but the sides do not appear to be close to an agreement.

A senior Western diplomat said on Friday that major differences remain between Iran and world powers on several key issues.

"The questions of access and transparency, PMD (possible military dimensions) and sanctions remain extremely problematic," the diplomat said. "We can find an agreement on some points, but on major issues there are still big differences."

There have been several indications from officials in recent weeks that the talks were stalled. Two diplomats said a week ago that the sides are still apart on all main elements of the nuclear deal. Previously, a diplomat who had spoken with a Russian news agency said the talks are “virtually stalled”.

Fabius has several times made clear that France will not agree to a deal if Iran so long as it rules out inspections of its military sites as part of the final agreement.

Fabius previously said Iran wants 24 days’ notice before international inspectors could visit its nuclear sites, and warned against that move, saying "a lot of things can disappear" in 24 days.

Iran has categorically denied reports that it would allow inspectors as part of a final deal, describing them as mere rumors and as wrong interpretations of the understanding reached in early April in Switzerland.

To make matters more complicated, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei this past week set out key "red lines" for the final agreement which appeared to go against parts of what had been agreed upon in an interim deal in April.

Khamenei said that all economic and financial sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council and the United States must be lifted on the same day that an agreement is signed.

In addition the Supreme Leader took issue with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visiting military sites vital for a UN probe into allegations of past efforts to develop nuclear weapons.