EU extends freeze on Iran sanctions

European Union flags outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels (file photo)

The European Union has extended a freeze it has placed on some of its nuclear-related sanctions against Iran by two weeks.

The bloc had originally suspended the bans to facilitate talks between the Islamic Republic and world powers over Tehran's nuclear program.

The suspension was meant to expire six months after the talks yielded a historic agreement in July, but on Thursday, the EU extended the freeze until January 28, Reuters reported.

The extension paves the way for the implementation of the nuclear agreement, which was reached in the Austrian capital, Vienna, between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries -- the United States, Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany -- on July 14.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, attend a final press conference on the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, Austria, on July 14, 2015. ©AFP

Under the agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), limits are placed on Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for, among other things, the removal of all nuclear-related economic and financial bans against the country.

Prior to the implementation of the JCPOA, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has to issue its final report on Iran’s fulfillment of its commitments as stipulated in the agreement. The agency is expected to release the final report this weekend.

Commenting on the potential date for the implementation day, Mogherini said on Monday, "My expectations are that this day could come rather soon and that the implementation of the agreement is proceeding well. It's encouraging."

Abbas Araqchi, an Iranian deputy foreign minister, has also said that the day would fall on the weekend.

Last December, the IAEA's Board of Governors passed a resolution that brought an end to a twelve-year investigation into the past and present outstanding issues regarding Iran's nuclear program.

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