As the deadline for an agreement nears, negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program are “hitting a wall,” according to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
“We are still hitting a wall on one absolutely fundamental point which is the number of centrifuges which allow enrichment,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said to a French Inter radio station, Reuters reported. “We say that there can be a few hundred centrifuges, but the Iranians want thousands so we’re not in the same framework.”
It is estimated that Iran has around 19,000 nuclear centrifuges, with about 10,000 in operation, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Under the interim nuclear deal signed in November 2013 between Iran and the P5+1 powers-U.S., U.K., France, Russia, China, and Germany-Iran would receive limited sanctions relief for suspending portions of its program. The two sides would have until July 20 to work out a more comprehensive deal that would significantly shrink Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
But Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has called for Iran’s entire nuclear program to be dismantled and has expressed significant skepticism over the interim deal.