Iran and six other powers failed for a second time this year to resolve their 12-year dispute over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions and gave themselves seven more months to overcome the deadlock that has prevented them from clinching a historic deal.
Western officials said they were aiming to secure an agreement on the substance of a final accord by March but that more time would be needed to reach a consensus on the all-important technical details.
“We have had to conclude it is not possible to get to an agreement by the deadline that was set for today and therefore we will extend the joint plan of action to June 30, 2015,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters at the end of the talks.
The plan is an interim deal agreed between the six and Iran a year ago in Geneva, under which Tehran halted higher level uranium enrichment in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions, including access to some frozen oil revenues abroad.
Hammond said the expectation was that Iran would continue to refrain from sensitive atomic activity.
He added that Iran and the powers “made some significant progress” in the latest round of talks, which began last Tuesday in the Austrian capital.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved