Obama phones France as Iran talks hit snag

Obama phones France as Iran talks hit snag

President Obama spoke to French President Francois Hollande on Friday to discuss the nuclear talks with Iran, which have reportedly hit a snag over the question of easing sanctions.

The two leaders discussed the nuclear negotiations, as well as the conflict in Ukraine, according to the White House.

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“The presidents reaffirmed their commitment to achieving  a long term comprehensive deal that fully and verifiably addresses the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, while noting that Iran must take steps to resolve several remaining issues,” the White House said in a statement.

A round of talks in Switzerland concluded Friday amid reported disagreements between the United States and its European allies over the timing of lifting international sanctions on the Iranian regime.

The U.S. has proposed a plan to gradually lift sanctions on Iran as its government proves it is abiding by the agreement to limit its nuclear capabilities, The Guardian reported Friday. Meanwhile, France wants only a “symbolic easing” of sanctions over the next decade.

The White House said Friday it expects a political deal to be reached with Iran to curb its nuclear program by the end of March.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said the U.S. wants Iran must demonstrate it is abiding by the agreement before sanctions are lifted.

“The president does not believe it makes much sense for us to remove a large number of sanctions at the front end of this agreement," he said.