French voice doubts on final Iran deal

The French foreign minister on Wednesday expressed doubts that Iran and the six world powers would be able to reach a final nuclear agreement.

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"We have to implement honestly the first phase," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.

"Then my main concern is the second phase,” he said. “It is unclear if the Iranians will accept to definitively abandon any capacity of getting a weapon or only agree to interrupt the nuclear program."

The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia — are trying to negotiate a final deal with Tehran to follow the six-month agreement was struck. The parties are also currently negotiating how to implement the interim deal, which trades some sanctions relief for a curbing of Iran’s nuclear program.

The French took a hard bargaining position during the first round of talks, and Fabius said daily inspections at Iran’s nuclear sites must begin before sanctions relief is granted.