Merkel, Hollande seek guarantees from Iran nuclear talks
German and French leaders say deal must ensure Tehran has no access to nuclear weapons.

German and French leaders Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande have demanded guarantees that Tehran will not developing nuclear weapons.

The pair made their comments on Tuesday as Iran and world powers entered into critical talks in Switzerland aimed at concluding a framework accord on Iran's nuclear program before a deadline set for midnight on March 31.

Merkel said at a joint press conference with Hollande in Berlin: "Concluding these talks is not an end in itself.

"An agreement should guarantee that Iran will have no access to nuclear weapons."

Hollande said an agreement for the sake of concluding the talks would be "a bad deal.”

Merkel said both Germany and France hoped for a diplomatic solution to the dispute.

"We hope for a successful conclusion of these talks, but that is not achieved yet,” she said.

'No bad agreement'

Hollande said France was also eager to have a diplomatic solution.

He said: "France wants an agreement. But as Chancellor Merkel said we want a good agreement.

"We do not want an agreement for the sake of having an agreement. Then it would be a bad agreement."

Hollande denied France was obstructing progress in the nuclear talks in Lausanne.

"We do not want to block the progress. If we see Iran’s good will, if Iran renounces nuclear weapons, than it comes to the verification,” he said.

Hollande was visiting Berlin on Tuesday for the 17th joint cabinet meeting between the EU partners Germany and France.

Talks ramped up

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius did not participate, having stayed in Lausanne for the negotiations on Iran nuclear crisis.

Iran and the P5+1 group, which includes the U.S., U.K., Russia, China and France plus Germany, have until the end of Tuesday to agree to a political framework agreement.

The talks had recently been ramped up amid concerns that a failure to produce a framework deal before March 31 could jeopardize any positive outcome of a final agreement, due by July 1.

The P5+1 have long claimed that Iran’s nuclear program aimed at developing nuclear weapons and wanted its program curbed in return for the lifting of sanctions.

Tehran insists its nuclear program is solely for peaceful purposes.

The deal sought by the six-member group would have Iran accept limits on its uranium enrichment capacity and would allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspections without interference.

Last Modified: 2015-04-01 08:04:36
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