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French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius nonetheless expressed hope on Monday that a deal could be reached, although he said Tehran still had to make an effort on a few points.
“We are not far from an agreement with the Iranians, but we are not there yet,” he told Europe 1 radio.
Some diplomats accused France of grandstanding during the talks at the weekend, which Fabius denied, saying Paris was not isolated but had an independent foreign policy.
Kerry denied reports of rifts among the powers and suggested Iran was not ready to accept the plan at that point.
The powers were “unified on Saturday when we presented a proposal to the Iranians, and the French signed off on it, we signed off on it, and everybody agreed it was a fair proposal. There was unity, but Iran couldn’t take it at that particular moment, they weren’t able to accept that particular thing.”
Fabius said Iran must suspend construction of its Arak heavy-water reactor and halt uranium enrichment to a concentration of 20 percent to win a relaxation of the sanctions, a position long held by Paris.
“I am hopeful we will reach a good deal. We want an accord that ensures regional and international stability,” Fabius said. “If we don’t reach an accord it would be a considerable problem in a few months.”
The United Nations nuclear watchdog said it and Iran had signed a joint statement on cooperation to resolve remaining nuclear issues.
The technical agreement opens the way for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to visit the Arak site and the Gachin uranium mine, and for measures requested by the agency to be implemented.
“The practical measures will be implemented in the next three months, starting from today,” IAEA head Yukiya Amano told a news conference in Tehran, broadcast on state television.