Last update 11:56:33 AM
France said on Saturday it hoped the extension on nuclear talks between the West and the Iranian regime would convince Tehran to make the "indispensable choices" needed to reach a long term deal, but warned that major differences still remained.
The announcement to give diplomacy until Nov. 24 came in the early hours of Saturday, a day before the July 20 deadline that the Iranian regime, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China had earlier set for an agreement.
"France hopes that this new deadline will allow Iran to make indispensable choices that we are expecting in order to reach a long-term, credible and lasting agreement," Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement during a visit to Egypt.
Asked whether he thought that Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif would be able to deliver a deal by November, Fabius told Reuters that serious obstacles remained.
"What I can say is that he wants an agreement and in the discussions we saw some progress, most notably on the Arak reactor," he said after meeting Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, referring to a heavy water reactor under construction.
"But there are still a certain number of points, especially enrichment, where there is no agreement and also all of its (the nuclear program) activities must be put under the control of the IAEA."
Under the terms of the extension of the negotiations, the Iranian regime will be able to access during this time a relatively small portion of an estimated more than $100 billion held abroad, in return for limits to its nuclear programme.
Iran News in Brief - 2 March 2015