France says Iran nuclear talks proceeding too slowly

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Paris (Web Desk): International negotiations on Iran’s nuclear activities are proceeding so slowly that they are unlikely to lead to any agreement “within a realistic timeframe,” France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

The discussions taking place in Vienna “are under way but from our point of view they are slow, too slow,” Le Drian told the French parliament. “There is a vital urgency on this issue because of Iran’s own actions and the trajectory of its nuclear programme,” he added.

On Monday Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman had said that efforts by “all parties” to revive his country’s 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers had resulted in “good progress” during the Vienna talks.

Negotiations to salvage the nuclear deal resumed in late November after they were suspended in June as Iran elected a new, ultraconservative government.

The 2015 deal -- agreed by Iran, the US, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbs on its nuclear programme.

But then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US in 2018 and reimposed biting sanctions, prompting Tehran to begin rolling back on its commitments.

“There has been good progress on all four issues of removing sanctions, nuclear issues, verification and obtaining guarantees" during the latest round of talks, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh asaid.

The US has participated only indirectly in the Vienna talks, which seek to bring Washington back inside the accord and to ensure Iran re-adheres to its own commitments.