French FM says Iran nuclear talks progressing ‘too slowly’

What is the true status of the Iran nuclear talks? French position is unclear.

By Eli Cohen, World Israel News

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian told a parliamentary hearing on Tuesday that the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna are progressing too slowly.

“The discussions are ongoing. They are slow, too slow and that creates a gap that jeopardizes the chance of finding a solution that respects the interests of all sides. Bits of progress were made at the end of December, but we are still far from concluding this negotiation,” the French official said.

This is in contrast to what what he indicated on Friday that negotiations were progressing on a rather positive path but emphasized the urgency of bringing them to a speedy conclusion.

These two-sided statements by France, which has long had a good relationship with the Iranian regime, seem to contradict themselves. The worrying aspect is the apparent desire of the Western powers to come to an agreement, whatever the terms. The eighth round of negotiations on the accord resumed on Jan. 3 amidst signs of Iranian intransigence and Western acquiescence.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Sunday that “The initiatives of the Iranian side and the negotiations that have taken place have put us on the right track. We are close to a good agreement.” He added that “the Islamic republic was not looking to ‘drag out’ negotiations,” yet Iran’s refusal to meet directly with U.S. officials, is resulting in a lot of wasted shuttle time between the parties.

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U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price said back on December 30 that “Iran is at best dragging its feet in the talks while racing forward in its nuclear escalation…[and] that won’t work.” In a December 7 report by journalist Laura Rozen, U.S. officials were said to be concerned that, within the first quarter of 2022, Iran could be in a position to produce enough fissile material for one nuclear bomb.