Iran nuke deal unlikely by deadline, ambassador says

Iran nuke deal unlikely by deadline, ambassador says
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International nuclear negotiations with Iran are likely to continue past a deadline at the end of June, the French ambassador involved in the talks said Tuesday.

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"It's very likely that we won't have an agreement before the end of June, or even after June," Gérard Araud, the French ambassador to the U.S., said Tuesday in Washington.

"The Iranians for the moment are obviously not negotiating to get an agreement very shortly," he said, suggesting a "fuzzy end" to the negotiations.

Araud’s remarks, during a panel discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council think tank, came as two other European diplomats described the negotiations as at a very technical stage.

Since President Obama announced the preliminary framework for a deal April 2, negotiations have moved slowly to iron out details by the end of next month, German ambassador to the U.S. Peter Wittig said.

The timing of sanctions relief and details of international inspections in exchange for new limits on Iran's nuclear program remain the primary issues facing negotiators, Wittig said.

"It's not yet in the bag," British Ambassador Peter Westmacott added.

The U.S., France, Britain, Russia and China — the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — plus Germany hope to secure a final nuclear accord with Iran by June 30, despite strong international skepticism.

Negotiations have twice been extended, most recently in November.