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Iran: Nuclear talks deadline extended past June 30

‘Because there is still lots of work to do the delegations will remain beyond... (July 1) to continue the negotiations,’ a spokesman said

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The Iran nuclear deal deadline has been extended past June 30, the Iranian foreign ministry said on Sunday as the Islamic republic joined world powers in Vienna this week for a fresh round of nuclear talks.

“Because there is still lots of work to do the delegations will remain beyond... (July 1) to continue the negotiations and reach a good overall deal,” a spokesman for the Iranian delegation in Vienna said.

Earlier on Sunday, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will return to Tehran for one day to consult with the country’s leadership over the ongoing nuclear talks with major powers, according to Reuters news agency.

“Zarif will return to Tehran tonight and will come back to Vienna tomorrow,” Tasnim said, citing an unnamed Iranian official.

Iran’s IRNA and ISNA news agencies said that “after a one-day stay in Tehran,” Zarif would return to Vienna but “in case more time is needed to work on the text of the agreement negotiations can continue after the June 30 deadline.”

The Iranian statement comes after British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said on Sunday there were still major differences between the powers and Iran and there would need to be concessions to reach an agreement.

“There a number of different areas where we still have major differences of interpretation in detailing what was agreed in (the) Lausanne (framework agreement),” Hammond told reporters on arrival in Vienna. He was referring to a framework deal agreed on April 2.

“There is going to have to be some give or take if we are to get this done in the next few days,” he said, adding that there were red lines that could not be crossed. “No deal is better than a bad deal.”

The main differences are on the pace and timing of sanctions relief for Iran in return for its steps to restrain its nuclear program and on the nature of monitoring mechanisms to ensure Tehran does not cheat on any agreement.

U.S. and European negotiators also want to ensure there is a mechanism for restoring U.S., European Union and United Nations sanctions if Tehran fails to meet its commitments under any future accord aimed at ending a 12-year nuclear standoff between Iran and the West.

The United States, Israel and some Western states fear that Iran has been trying to develop a nuclear weapons capability but Tehran says its program is for peaceful purposes only.