French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that recent comments made by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “do not seem to go in [the] direction” of supporting a “robust” nuclear deal, Reuters reported Wednesday.
“France wants a deal but wants the deal to be robust, a good deal, but not a bad deal,” he said at a news conference alongside Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
“A certain number of statements do not seem to go in that direction. France reaffirms that it wants a solid accord, but at the same time must stress the firmness of its positions.”
Fabius cited limitations on Iran’s uranium enrichment capacity and research, rigorous verification systems, including for military sites, and restoring sanctions immediately if Tehran reneged on its obligations as key elements of a deal.
Fabius was referring to a speech given Tuesday by Khamenei, in which the Supreme Leader demanded immediate sanctions relief and rejected inspections of Iranian military sites or interviews with nuclear scientists.
By doing so one week before the deadline for a permanent nuclear deal between the P5+1 nations and Iran, Khamenei once again rejected understandings reached between the parties in April. Since then Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials have ruled out allowing inspections of military sites. Fabius and Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, have insisted that such inspections are essential for ensuring that Iran’s nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.