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Int’l Talks Continue as Iran Nuke Deal Approaches

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran’s foreign minister and his European Union counterparts are meeting in Luxembourg for a final round of nuclear talks aimed at completing a deal before a June 30 deadline.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif met privately with ministers from Germany and France before a larger meeting with EU leaders.

Zarif said “reaching a good nuclear deal, is more important that missing the deadline by a few days.” He added that the two sides still have differences on both technical and political issues.

On Sunday, Iran’s parliament voted to ban access to military sites, documents and scientists as part of any future deal. The terms stipulated in the bill allow for international inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, but forbid any inspections of military facilities.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said France would like a “robust agreement” with Iran.

“What does a robust agreement mean? It means an agreement which includes a limitation in the duration of Iranian nuclear capacities in terms of research and production. It means an advanced system of verification, including, if necessary, on military sites,” Fabius said in a statement following Monday’s meeting with Zarif.

Iran’s nuclear negotiators say they already have agreed to grant U.N. inspectors “managed access” to military sites under strict control and specific circumstances. That right includes allowing inspectors to take environmental samples around military sites.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said a nuclear deal with Iran still remains possible as long as Iran does” not try to carry out any evasive maneuvers on the final stretch.”

Iran reached a framework nuclear deal with the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany on April 2. The parties are aiming for a final agreement in which Iran would restrict its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.

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