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Mar 23, 2015

Israel’s Steinitz says world powers, Iran likely to agree bad nuclear deal

PARIS (Reuters) – Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Monday it was probable that world powers and Iran would agree a “bad deal” over Iran’s nuclear program, but he would still lobby to toughen any accord before talks resume this week.

“We think it’s going to be a bad, insufficient deal,” Steinitz told Reuters in an interview before meeting French officials in Paris. “It seems quite probable it will happen unfortunately”.

Mar 22, 2015

Israel reaches out to France before resumption of Iran nuclear talks

JERUSALEM/PARIS (Reuters) – Top Israeli envoys were sent to confer with French officials on Sunday about preventing what Israel considers an unfavorable nuclear deal with Iran after tensions surfaced between France and the United States ‎over negotiation strategy.

Though France has demanded more stringent restrictions than other Western delegations during talks with Iran, one French diplomat played down Israel’s sway in Paris, saying that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had overplayed his hand in a March 3 speech to the U.S. Congress.

Mar 21, 2015

Kerry says progress made in nuclear talks, time to make tough decisions

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday talks with Iran had made genuine progress and the time had come to make hard decisions in reaching a deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear program.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted by state news agency IRNA as saying there was “nothing that cannot be resolved” between the parties, who seek a deal by the end of June.

Mar 21, 2015

France says deal with Iran must be robust, guarantee no atomic bomb

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – France’s foreign minister said on Saturday that his country wanted an agreement over Iran’s nuclear program that was sufficiently robust to guarantee that Tehran could not acquire an atomic bomb.

Iran and six world powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – suspended negotiations on a nuclear agreement on Friday and are set to meet again next week to break a deadlock over sensitive atomic research and lifting of sanctions.

Mar 20, 2015

European negotiator says framework accord with Iran unlikely soon

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Six world powers are unlikely to reach a framework agreement with Iran on its nuclear work in the coming days as the sides are still far apart on key issues, a senior European negotiator said on Thursday, blaming Tehran for failing to compromise.

“Contrary to what the Iranians are saying with regard to 90 percent of an accord being done, that’s not correct,” the negotiator told reporters on condition of anonymity. “We are not close to an agreement.”

Mar 19, 2015

European negotiator says framework accord at Iran nuclear talks unlikely soon

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – Six world powers and Iran are unlikely to reach a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in the coming days as the sides are too far apart on many issues, a European negotiator said on Thursday.

He blamed Tehran for failing to compromise.

“Contrary to what the Iranians are saying with regard to 90 percent of an accord being done, that’s not true,” the negotiator told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Mar 18, 2015

U.S., Iran focus on technical details in nuclear talks

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) – American and Iranian nuclear experts homed in on the technical details of a possible framework agreement on curbing Iran’s nuclear program in a fresh round of talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Wednesday.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, kicked off the negotiations. They were later joined by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, and European Union Political Director Helga Schmid.

Mar 9, 2015

Mali FM tells rebels ‘time running out’ for peace deal

PARIS (Reuters) – Mali’s foreign minister said on Monday Tuareg rebels were running out of time to seal a peace accord that would distance them from jihadi groups who are staging violent attacks in the West African country.

Mali’s government signed up to a preliminary peace proposal on March 1 meant to end fighting with the Tuarag-led northern separatists, but the rebels have demanded more time before agreeing to any accord.

Mar 7, 2015

Islamist militants kill 5 in restaurant attack in Mali capital

BAMAKO/PARIS (Reuters) – A Sahara-based Islamist group on Saturday claimed responsibility for a rare attack in Mali’s capital that killed five people, including two foreigners, highlighting continued volatility in the African nation two years after France helped retake territory from al Qaeda-linked militants.

The attack early Saturday morning on La Terrasse, a popular restaurant with expatriates in Bamako, left a French citizen, a Belgian security officer and three Malians dead and nine others wounded, a senior Malian security official told Reuters.

Mar 7, 2015

U.S., France ‘on same page’ over Iran, want stronger deal

PARIS (Reuters) – The United States and France sought on Saturday to play down any disagreements over nuclear talks with Iran, saying they both agreed the accord now under discussion needed to be strengthened.

“We are on the same page,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters after talks with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris. “If we didn’t think that there was further to go, as Laurent said, we’d have had an agreement already,” Kerry added.