Nuclear Talks With Iran Hit a Snag as France Questions Deal
Published: November 9, 2013
By MARK LANDLER and MICHAEL R. GORDON
In Geneva, the past several days been lined with optimistic reports of negotiations in Iran having gone well. The topic of negotiations being: Iran’s nuclear capabilities. However, despite the fact that that there is progress being made, France is objecting to a proposed deal.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, converged to discuss the issue of curbing Iran’s Uranium enrichment program and a nuclear reactor, under construction, which will produce plutonium. The French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, claims that they are “hoping for a deal, but for the moment there are still issues which have not been resolved”.
The problem France has is that they are concerned with Iran’s capacity to produce nuclear fuel which could be used in weapons – the subject of this concern being the heavy-water reactor being built in Arak. Though it is a ways away from being finished, the fact that it will be highly efficient in making plutonium has created skepticism and controversy.
Furthermore, Israel has been vocal about not letting the reactor get to the point where fuel is being inserted, after which a military strike against the reactor could create an environmental holocaust.
All in all, the momentum gathered behind a future deal with Iran has created a rift, in which what to do about Iran’s possible nuclear capabilities is still in question and could continue to be for some time.
The threat Iran posses having nuclear capabilities can be determined by what kind of intentional leverage there is. European countries such as France face far fewer political restrictions on ending their core sanctions against Iran than the U.S does. The combined intentional effort thus would measure the Iranians will to continue their nuclear projects. It is important that a deal is reached, and the concern of the French, while legitimate does’t seem to be expressed by other countries. This will pose a problem in the future when after the heavy-water facility in Arak is built.