France Says Treating Iran’s Nuclear Overture With Caution

World champions France are through to the UEFA European Women’s Under-17 Championship final tournament in England after Poland’s title defence was ended in elite round Group 4. Related Items Draw, ambassadors confirmed Before their decider against Sweden in Dungannon, France whose squad included 2012 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup winner Delphine Cascarino held a two-point lead over their opponents, with Poland and hosts Northern Ireland out of contention. Following their 1-0 triumph, secured by substitute Perle Morroni’s 73rd-minute goal, Guy Ferrier’s team take their place in next Thursday’s draw at Burton Town Hall, which already involves England, Spain, Scotland, Austria and Germany. Poland beat Sweden in Nyon in June to win their first women’s title, but their hopes of defending the crown in England looked slim after an opening 3-0 loss to France, Marine Julian, Anissa Lahmari and substitute Manon Uffren getting the goals. Sweden defeated Northern Ireland 2-0, Rebecka Blomqvist striking on 28 and 56 minutes. Two days later Sweden were two up inside 22 minutes in their final rematch against Poland through Blomqvist and Julia Zigiotti Olme. Substitute Aleksandra Lizon reduced arrears and Dominika Grabowska levelled in added time, but Poland’s reign was over. France beat Northern Ireland 2-0 to go top, Mathilde Jouanno getting both goals. France, after their last-day success, will now aim to finish in the top three in England so they can defend their world title in Costa Rica in March. Poland at least signed off with three points, prevailing 1-0 against Northern Ireland courtesy ofLizon’s second-half effort. 1998-2013. All rights reserved. Last updated: 17/10/13 19.47CET

France mayors ‘cannot block gay marriage’ – top court

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The United States on Wednesday described two days of nuclear talks with Iran as the most serious to date after diplomats said Tehran hinted it was ready to scale back sensitive atomic activities to secure urgent sanctions relief. But despite a more open exchange between Iran and the six world powers – Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States – diplomats said no breakthrough had been achieved in the Geneva talks and many disagreements remained. “We are waiting for substantive change,” Fabius told parliament. “Given what he know on Iran, the Guide (Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) being the same, we are compelled to be cautiously open.” Paris has been one of the strongest advocates of sanctions to pressure Iran over its nuclear program. The United States and its allies suspect Iran is seeking nuclear bomb-making capability despite Tehran’s insistence that its program has only peaceful aims. French President Francois Hollande was the first Western leader to meet new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in September, warning that Paris expected “concrete gestures”. “It is too early to draw conclusions,” Fabius said. “France will not mix up appearances with reality.” So far Iran has defied U.N. Security Council demands that it halt enrichment and other sensitive nuclear activities, leading to multiple rounds of crippling international sanctions that have reduced Iranian oil exports, caused inflation to soar and the value of the Iranian rial currency to plummet. Speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the talks, a Western diplomat said the negotiations had been neither positive nor negative, but the major powers had been able to ask specific questions on key issues and received certain answers creating a basis to move forward.

A law recognising same-sex marriage took effect in May, but proved controversial and sparked violent protests. Several mayors rejected it as a matter of “conscience”. The Constitutional Council ruled on Friday that the law did not provide a “conscience clause” for its opponents. There were massive street protests against the law earlier this year. The issue aroused stronger than expected opposition in France, with opinion polls suggesting nearly half of the population were against gay marriage. A group of mayors and registrars had appealed against the legislation, saying it should include a “freedom of conscience” clause allowing them to opt out of conducting same-sex marriages if it goes against their personal religious or moral beliefs. They argued that the lack of such a clause goes against the French constitution. Rejecting the mayors’ appeal, the Constitutional Council said the disputed part of the legislation is constitutional. The mayors have previously said they would take their case to the European Court of Human Rights if the French court rules against them. More on This Story The new senator and the greatest sporting moment of my life Most Popular How lab-grown smart tissue and organs with integrated sensors could be the future Programmes