By George Jahn and Deb Riechmann
GENEVA – The French and Iranian foreign ministers said early Sunday that a deal between six world powers and Iran has been struck that calls on Tehran to limit its nuclear activities in return for sanctions relief.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, ‘’Yes, we have a deal,” as he walked past reporters crowding the hotel lobby where marathon negotiations had taken place over the past five days.
Asked if there was a deal, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said ‘’Yes” and gave a thumbs up sign.
The goal had been to hammer out an agreement to freeze Iran’s nuclear program for six months, while offering the Iranians limited relief from crippling economic sanctions. If the interim deal holds, the parties will negotiate final-stage agreements to ensure Iran does not build nuclear weapons.
The deal came after the personal intervention by Secretary of State John Kerry and other foreign ministers whose presence had raised hopes for a breakthrough.
Diplomats refused to spell out details of the talks, which dragged on past midnight and into early Sunday.