The deadline for reaching an agreement on Iran's Nuclear Programme was extended till 24 November 2014 on 18 July 2014. The decision to extend the deadline was announced by the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy Catherine Ashton and the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
The decision was taken after the negotiations between P5+1 countries and Iran along with European Union held in Vienna, Austria failed.
The extension of deadline will enable Iran access another 2.8 billion US dollars of its cash frozen abroad during that period, though most sanctions on the Islamic Republic stayed in place.
Earlier on 24 November 2014, after the election of Hassan Rouhani as 7th President of Iran, the P5+1 countries and Iran had agreed on a Joint Plan of Action in Geneva, Switzerland.
The Joint Plan of Action that came into effect on 20 January 2014, aimed to arrive on an agreement by 20 June 2014. Within these six months, Iran and the six countries agreed to draw up a comprehensive nuclear deal which will lead to a lifting of the whole sanctions on Iran. The six-month deal allowed Iran to receive 4.2 billion US dollars in funds held abroad.
The dispute over Iran's Nuclear Programme is decade old. On the one hand the western powers led by the US alleges that Iran is using its nuclear programme for enriching uranium and could be used for developing weapons of mass destruction. As a result, P5 + 1 countries want Iran to significantly scale back its uranium enrichment programme to make sure it cannot produce nuclear bombs.
On the other hand, Iran refutes this stand and argues it is its sovereign right to continue its nuclear programme so as to meet its huge energy needs. Further Iran says the programme is entirely peaceful and wants sanctions that have severely damaged its oil-dependent economy to be lifted as soon as possible.
Although Iran agreed to take several steps, including keeping neutralizing it’s most sensitive uranium stocks (uranium that has been enriched to a level of 20 percent purity) by converting it to fuel for a research reactor in Tehran used to make medical isotopes. However, the core issue is still not resolved.
The core issue is that Iran says it would be willing to delay development of an industrial-scale uranium enrichment programme for up to seven years and to keep the 19000 centrifuges it has installed so far for this purpose. This is too many centrifuges that is being demanded by Iran to be kept with alleges western powers.
The P5 + 1 Group of countries comprises of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and Germany. The permanent five members of UNSC are Russia, China, the US, Britain and France.
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When: 18 July 2014