French FM: 'no significant progress' in Iran nuclear talks
UNITED NATIONS – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Friday, September 26, that six-power talks with Iran being held at the United Nations had failed to yield progress on curbing Tehran's nuclear program.
"At this time as I speak, there is no significant progress," Fabius told journalists on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.
Negotiators from the so-called P5+1 comprised of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States plus Germany opened a new round of talks last Friday with only two months left to reach a deal on Tehran's nuclear program.
With no apparent progress achieved, US Secretary of State John Kerry met late Thursday for three-way talks with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
A State Department official said the talks would "take stock of the work that has been done this week and discuss the path forward."
There will be further talks between the trio on Friday.
"We will be quickly meeting again. We regret that there has been no progress," said Fabius.
The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany are seeking to reach a deal to scale back Tehran's nuclear activities by the deadline of November 24.
Iran wants UN and Western sanctions lifted, and is pushing for the right to enrich uranium, a process which can produce material for a bomb.
It has long denied it is seeking to develop a nuclear arsenal.
"The goal of an agreement is to ensure that Iran under no circumstances will acquire a nuclear weapon," Fabius added.
"We must talk about the Arak reactor, the centrifuges. If Iran renounces plans to develop a nuclear weapon, there is no need to have an incommensurable number of centrifuges.
Fabius said there were some possibilities of progress notably on the Arak reactor and its level of plutonium production, which has raised fears that it could serve military purposes.
"There are some points on which there is some opening, possibilities, notably on Arak. But on others, there is no progress," he said.
Western diplomats headed into the talks last week saying they did not expect a breakthrough in this round, but hoped to narrow the gaps. – Rappler.com