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EU extends to Iran relief from sanctions

Posted on Jul 22 2014 | IANS

Brussels, July 22 : The European Union (EU) has extended the suspension of sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme until November 24.

"The suspension allows: the provision of insurance and transport in relation to Iranian crude oil sales to current customers, import, purchase or transport of Iranian petrochemical products, as well as trade in gold and precious metals with the Iranian government and its public bodies," Xinhua quoted an EU statement as saying Monday.

EU's Foreign Policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif last week jointly announced the extension of Iran's nuclear talks till November 24, as stakeholders still have "significant gaps on core issues".

Meanwhile, the Joint Plan of Action, known as the interim deal which should have expired by July 20, has also been extended till November 24.

Iran and the six world powers "reaffirmed that they will continue to implement all their commitments described in the Joint Plan of Action in an efficient and timely manner," Ashton said earlier in Vienna.

According to the interim Geneva nuclear agreement last November, Iran had to take steps to alleviate the concerns of the world powers over its nuclear programme in exchange for a partial lift of economic sanctions posed by the West.

There has been multiple rounds of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1, including five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany but the leader could not come to any conclusions and talks for a final deal stalled as the two sides are still far apart on some core issues, such as Iran's future enrichment capacity.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week said that Iran needs 190,000 separative work units (SWUs) for uranium enrichment, much higher than the West's anticipation under a comprehensive agreement.

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