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Hammond's vow on Iran nuclear deal

Europe and the United States will not do a "bad" nuclear deal with Iran, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has vowed.

He was speaking last night after talks involving his counterparts from France and Germany and US Secretary of State John Kerry at Heathrow.

The discussions come between talks with Iran in Lausanne over its nuclear programme.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said "achieving a deal is possible" by the March 31 target date for a preliminary accord that is meant to lead to a final deal by the end of June.

It would scale back Tehran's nuclear programmes in exchange for sanctions relief.

But Mr Hammond struck a cautious note in briefing the media after the two and a half hour talks at the airport.

Flanked by Mr Kerry, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and EU High Representative Federica Mogherini , Mr Hammond said they had agreed that significant progress had been made in some areas, but there were others where there was no agreement.

Mr Hammond said: "Now is the time for Iran to take difficult decisions.

"We reaffirmed that we are all equally committed to finding a solution that ensures that Iran's nuclear programme remains exclusively peaceful in line with its stated commitment.

"Any solution must be comprehensive, durable and verifiable. None of our countries can subscribe to a deal that does not meet those terms.

"We will not do a bad deal which does not meet our red lines."

Mr Hammond said it was an important moment in the negotiations.

"If we are able to resolve all the main issues, technical work will follow to convert a framework into a detailed text.

"We will all continue to work together with unity of purpose to secure a successful outcome."

Only Mr Hammond spoke, and as the ministers left the briefing Mr Kerry laughed and clapped him on the shoulder, saying: "That was better than the text."


From Belfast Telegraph