France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Wednesday said that France will not sign off on a deal with Iran if it rules out inspections of its military sites as part of the final agreement.
“France will not accept a deal if it is not clear that inspections can be done at all Iranian installations, including military sites,” he told the national assembly in Paris, according to The Guardian newspaper.
“Yes to an agreement, but not to an agreement that will enable Iran to have the atomic bomb. That is the position of France, which is independent and peaceful,” Fabius added.
His comments came a week after Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made clear that he would not allow the Iranian negotiating team to accept inspections of military sites or questioning of the country’s nuclear scientists.
Iran has categorically denied reports that it would allow inspectors as part of a final deal, describing them as mere rumors and as wrong interpretations of the understanding reached in early April in Switzerland.
Top Iranian commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami recently reiterated those statements, saying his country will never permit “foreigners” to inspect its military sites.
Last week Fabius said Iran wants 24 days’ notice before international inspectors could visit its nuclear sites, and warned against that move, saying "a lot of things can disappear" in 24 days.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano recently insisted that a nuclear agreement would give his experts the right to push for access to Iranian military sites.
Amano said Iran specifically agreed to implement what's known as the agency's "Additional Protocol" when it agreed to the outlines of the deal now being worked on.
The protocol would allow the agency's inspectors much more access than they have now to follow up on suspicions of undeclared Iranian nuclear activities or equipment.