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Fabius calls for 'robust' Iran nuclear deal before meeting Iranian foreign minister

media Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. File Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

Any nuclear deal with Iran “must be able to be verified”, said French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius on Sunday, ahead of next week's deadline for a final deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme.

"We must be extremely firm, if an agreement is to be reached, it must be robust,” Fabius told journalists on Sunday as he prepared to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Luxembourg on Monday.

Iranian negotiator Abbas Araghchi said that discussions in Luxembourg with Iran, British, French and German foreign ministers on Monday could resolve a 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

“Differences on the text of the agreement have been reduced but the progress hasn’t been what we expected,” said Araghchi. “We hope that during the meeting of the ministers [on Monday] there will be more discussion about the differences in several key issues.”

Iran and the P5+1 bloc, which is made up of Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, have been engaged in negotiations for 21 months.

A final agreement, which should be reached on 30 June in Vienna, must guarantee the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear programme, say world powers, ending international concern that Iran is developing an atomic bomb.

US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to join at the end of the week.

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