EU extends freeze on some Iran sanctions

The European Union on Tuesday extended a freeze on certain sanctions against Iran after negotiations aimed at curbing the country`s nuclear programme were prolonged by seven months.

Brussels: The European Union on Tuesday extended a freeze on certain sanctions against Iran after negotiations aimed at curbing the country`s nuclear programme were prolonged by seven months.

The widely expected extension includes the suspension of bans on the insuring of oil transport, gold trade and certain financial transfers. 

The bloc`s 28 member states have "extended until June 30, 2015 the suspension of EU restrictive measures," the EU`s diplomatic service said in a statement.

The move was adopted on Tuesday through a written procedure. 

"The negotiations have been extended, so the measure is also extended," a diplomatic source told AFP.

The suspensions included a 2012 ban on insuring and transporting Iranian crude oil that contributed to a more than 50 percent drop in Tehran`s oil exports.

The EU also suspended bans on trade in gold, precious metals and petrochemical products while increasing a ceiling on financial transfers not related to remaining sanctions.

The suspensions were originally agreed after the UN`s nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, said Tehran had stuck to its side of a November 2013 deal to cut back its nuclear programme.

The sanctions freeze had also been extended in July, aimed at coinciding with Monday`s deadline for international negotiations with Iran.

Iran and world powers failed Monday to clinch a landmark nuclear deal and defuse a 12-year standoff but gave themselves seven more months to reach agreement.

The failure followed an intensive five-day diplomatic push in the Austrian capital Vienna involving the foreign ministers of Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.

The EU will decide this week who will represent the bloc in further talks with Iran and whether a special mandate for Catherine Ashton would be extended, an EU spokeswoman said.

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