Paris: France said today world powers were close to a long-awaited agreement with Iran on its disputed nuclear programme, despite failure to reach a deal at negotiations in Geneva that some blame on Paris.

“We are not far from an agreement with the Iranians but we are not there yet,” Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Europe 1 radio.

“France is neither isolated nor a country that follows the herd. It is independent and works for peace,” he added, responding to criticism that Paris had scuppered an accord on how to deal with Iran’s controversial nuclear programme.

Representatives of Iran and six world powers gathered in Geneva with high expectations on Thursday to try and hammer out a deal on Tehran’s nuclear programme, which Western countries suspect is aimed at developing an atomic bomb accusations strenuously denied by Iran.

The marathon talks ended three days later without an agreement, blamed by some media and off-the-record officials on French reservations on some parts of a draft deal on the negotiating table.

The so-called P5+1 group the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany  and Iran will reconvene in the Swiss city on November 20 to try and iron out differences and reach an accord.

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