Iran and six world powers on Friday agreed to a four-month extension of negotiations on a long-term nuclear deal that would gradually end sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, diplomats close to the talks said.
Iran, the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China had set a July 20 deadline to complete a long-term agreement that would resolve the decade-old dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. But diplomats said they were unable to overcome significant differences on major sticking points.
"We have reached an agreement to extend the talks,'' a senior Iranian diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Several Western diplomats echoed his remarks.
The extension agreed to on Friday begins on July 21 and negotiations on a long-term deal are likely to resume in September, diplomats said. They added that the talks were set to conclude by late November.
It has been clear for days that Iran and the six powers would miss the Sunday deadline to reach an accord due to disagreements on a number of key issues in the discussions.
Among the issues dividing them are the permissible scope of Iran's nuclear fuel production capacity and how to address the country's suspected past atomic bomb research. The negotiations began in February in Vienna.