France will take a tough stance when negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program and would expect tough concessions from the Islamic Republic, French President Francois Hollande said Friday.
In a phone call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hollande stressed that France was waiting to see if Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent remarks regarding his willingness to halt uranium enrichment in return for the easing of Western sanctions will be “translated into actions,” AFP reported.
In a series of interviews with European media outlets Thursday, Netanyahu said that if the international community lifts sanctions on Iran without ensuring the guaranteed end to uranium enrichment, Europe and the rest of the world will face hundreds of nuclear weapons in the hands of a “murderous” regime.
“If the sanctions are eased,” Netanyahu warned, “[Tehran] will get everything they want and we, as a collective, will get nothing.”
“Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. It’s important to emphasize that this isn’t an Israeli issue. It’s also your concern,” he added.
In recent weeks, Iran has begun negotiating directly with the US over its nuclear program and severe sanctions imposed by Western powers. On Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Iran will offer to limit its production of nuclear fuel in exchange for an easing of international sanctions. Tehran will reportedly make the offer at a conference of the P5+1 world powers, slated to take place next week in Geneva, that diplomats hope will mark a new chapter in Western relations with Iran, officials familiar with the upcoming talks said.
Iran is expected to offer “to stop enriching uranium to levels of 20% purity, which international powers consider dangerously close to a weapons-grade capability,” agree to ship its stockpile of nuclear fuel to a third country for storage, open its nuclear facilities to more thorough international inspections, and close the enrichment facility near Qom.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz called Iran’s reported proposal a “joke.”
Late Wednesday, Israeli TV reported that the US and Iran were making significant progress toward a deal that would aim to keep Iran two to three years from a nuclear weapons capability.