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article imageFrance blocks last-minute deal on Iran nuclear program

By Abdul Kuddus     Nov 10, 2013 in World
Geneva - Talks on curbing Iran's nuclear aspirations ended without a deal early Sunday when France objected that proposed measures were not satisfactory. However, both sides agreed that significant progress had been made on the remaining differences.
The Geneva talks involved Iran and the US, Russia, Britain, France and China as permanent UN Security Council members, plus Germany. All the countries were represented by their foreign ministers.
The Geneva conference saw Iran and major world powers pushing for a deal that would freeze some of Iran’s nuclear program. The renewed talks brought an option for Iran to end the crippling international sanctions and opportunity to sell its oil.
However, clear divisions emerged among the US and European allies when France hinted that the proposals being discussed did not sufficiently diminish the threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb.
Reportedly a last–minute draft deal on Iran’s nuclear program hit a snag when France insisted on Iran to suspend the Arak heavy water reactor while talks move with the aim of reaching a first-stage agreement and then a comprehensive final deal, the Tehran Times reported.
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius raised the objection that Iran's Arak reactor south-east of Tehran could produce enough plutonium for several nuclear weapons a year once it goes online. He also raised objections over efforts to limit Iran's uranium enrichment to levels.
Reportedly France’s stance on Iran’s nuclear aspirations appeared tougher than those agreed to by the US and France's other negotiating partners, diminishing hopes of a final deal.
The city of Esfahan has been assessed to be associated with the primary location of the Iranian nucl...
The city of Esfahan has been assessed to be associated with the primary location of the Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Staff images from ISIS online
Following France’s objections to the deal, the leaders chose to adjourn for 10 days. According to BBC, Western diplomats were furious with the French for inserting their objections at the last minute.
While Iran and six world powers failed to forge a deal, both sides agreed they had made substantial progress during the three days of talks that paved the way forward for the next round.
The Geneva talks exposed the complexity and enormous mistrust between Iran and the West. After a decade of inconclusive negotiations, an agreement would have surely been a breakthrough.
The marathon discussions and failed negotiations clearly points out that it wasn’t easy to overcome almost 30 years of mistrust between the US and the Iran. Especially, it was even tougher to mitigate the French mistrust of Iran.
Reportedly the French have always been tough on Iran, even though the last-minute objection railed by France was unexpected. The strong opposition by France remained unnoticed because media outlets always placed emphasis on the US stance on Iran.
Despite the setbacks, the Geneva talks concluded the longest high-level negotiations between Iran and the United States in decades; indicates Iran’s improved relations with the West since President Hassan Rouhani took office in August.
According to the BBC, although there have been many rounds of negotiations in the past, all aides agree that this time is different.”
More about iran nuclear program, geneva talks, Western sanctions, Uranium enrichment
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