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Iran's Rouhani was vague on possible nuclear compromises: France

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered little clarity on whether Tehran was ready to compromise in nuclear talks with six major powers when he spoke with his French counterpart Francois Hollande, France’s foreign minister said on Friday.

Speaking to reporters at the United Nations in New York, Laurent Fabius also said there had been some progress in the negotiations underway in Lausanne, Switzerland, but cautioned that the priority was getting the contents right for a solid deal, not meeting an end-March deadline.

The conversation on Thursday, a rare exchange between Paris and Tehran, came days after officials close to the negotiations said France was demanding more stringent conditions than its Western allies for any future agreement under which Iran would curb sensitive nuclear activity in exchange for ending sanctions.

When asked about the call between the two presidents, Fabius said Rouhani was “not very precise” on the question of possible compromises by the Iranian side. Fabius, who will arrive in Lausanne on Saturday, added that “there has to be new efforts by our Iranian partners.”

“There has been some progress, but there are things which are not yet solved,” he said, declining to go into details.

Major powers and Iran were pushing each other for concessions on Friday ahead of this month’s deadline for a preliminary nuclear deal that would lay the foundations for a full deal by June 30.

Tehran is demanding an immediate end to sanctions and freedom to continue sensitive atomic research, officials said.

“We have two deadlines, March and the end of June, but the important thing is the content not the deadline,” Fabius said.

When asked if March 31 could be pushed back a few days he said:

“It would be better to have a solution. We’ll see, it depends on the content.”

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; writing by Louis Charbonneau and John Irish; editing by John Irish and Giles Elgood