EU likely to extend freeze on some Iran sanctions

The European Union is likely to extend a freeze on certain sanctions against Iran after negotiations over the country's nuclear programme were prolonged by seven months, a diplomatic has source said.

Brussels: The European Union is likely to extend a freeze on certain sanctions against Iran after negotiations over the country's nuclear programme were prolonged by seven months, a diplomatic has source said.

Such a move could be adopted by the 28 members of the EU as early as today though a written procedure. The measure would involve a range of sanctions suspended in January.

"The negotiations have been extended, so the measure is also extended," the source told AFP yesterday, without providing a new date.

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

Iran and world powers missed yesterday's deadline 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.  

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