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Middle East

Iran and world powers agree to extend nuclear deadline

© AFP | An Iranian flag outside the UN headquarters and the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-07-19

Iran and six world powers failed on Saturday to meet their target date for cutting a nuclear deal but agreed to extend the talks until November 24 in a bid to overcome stubborn differences over the size and capacity of Tehran’s nuclear allowances.

Months of exhausting negotiations were meant to culminate in an agreement by Sunday that would limit programmes Iran says it needs to produce energy and for other peaceful purposes – but which can also be used to make nuclear arms. In return, Tehran would have had progressive relief from all nuclear-related sanctions on its economy.

With both the US and Tehran facing pressure from powerful sceptics at home, the two sides tried to put a good face on what had been accomplished, while acknowledging that full agreement was a distance away.

We have made tangible process on some of the issues,” said EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who coordinated the talks on behalf of the US Russia, China, the UK, France and Germany. But she cautioned of “significant gaps on some core issues which will require more time and effort”.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif read the same statement in Farsi.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who flew into Vienna a week ago to try and advance the talks, said stretching out the talks “is warranted by the progress we’ve made and the path forward we can envision,” while a White House statement said that with the extension, there is a “credible prospect for a comprehensive deal.”

Iran will be allowed to access an additional $2.8 billion of its frozen assets during the four-month period but most sanctions against Tehran will remain in place, the United States said.

“Iran will not get any more money during these four months than it did during the last six months, and the vast majority of its frozen oil revenues will remain inaccessible,” Kerry said in a statement released in Vienna on Saturday. “We will continue to vigorously enforce the sanctions that remain in place.”

(FRANCE 24 with AP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-07-19

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