No deal yet on timing of sanctions relief for Iran: France

PARIS (AFP) - France's foreign minister warned on Friday that the tricky issue of when crippling sanctions on Iran would be lifted following a framework deal over its nuclear programme was "not yet solved." "The Iranian want sanctions to be lifted immediately," Laurent Fabius told Europe 1 radio station.

"We say to them: we will ease the sanctions as you respect what you have agreed to and if you don't live up to your commitments, of course we can return to the situation we had before.

"On this point, there is not yet a deal," said Fabius.

Fabius spoke after Thursday's agreement aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear drive, hailed as "historic." Under the framework, Iran agreed to sharply curtail its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions that have crippled the country's economy.

France, which presents itself as one of the more hawkish of the world powers negotiating the deal, has warned that sanctions will be reimposed if Teheran fails to live up to its side of the bargain.

"We are going in the right direction ... but we are not yet at the end of the road," stressed Fabius.

The main outlines agreed after eight days of talks that sometimes went through the night in the Swiss city of Lausanne now have to be finalised in a highly complex agreement by June 30.

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