posted at 19:50
Author Name: Simon Sturdee and Lachlan Carmichael
Iran nuclear deal deadline extended to July 1
In the best chance to resolve the standoff over Iran's nuclear programme, the P5+1 world powers have been for months seeking to turn an interim deal into a lasting accord. Iran wants painful UN and Western sanctions that have strangled its vital oil exports lifted, but the powers want to stagger any relief over a long period to ensure Tehran complies with any deal. The conditions set by last November's interim deal will remain in place until July, including a continued freeze by Iran of contentious parts of its nuclear activities. Another extension - as happened to an earlier deadline of July 20 - however carries risks of its own, including possible fresh US sanctions that could lead Iran to walk away. "New sanctions legislation against Iran, which has been proposed by more than several members of Congress, would undermine the chance to reach a comprehensive deal that guards against a nuclear-armed Iran," Arms Control Association analyst Kelsey Davenport told AFP. "The imposition of new sanctions measures will most certainly provoke Iran to take escalatory measures that could lead to a larger crisis in the Middle East.". Kerry appealed on Monday to US lawmakers - with Republicans in control of both houses from January - not to pass fresh sanctions on Iran. The European Union is likely to extend a freeze on certain sanctions against Iran, a diplomatic source in Brussels said.

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