Iran and world powers have given themselves another seven months to reach a deal in a long-running nuclear standoff. It had appeared unlikely that an accord would be struck by the original deadline - Monday.
Iran and world powers have extended a deadline over their nuclear dispute until July 1, 2015 - despite an enormous push to turn an interim deal into a long-term agreement by the end of Monday.
Tehran and the group of six countries - the US, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany (known as the P5+1) - will try and achieve an outline deal by March 1 and a full technical accord by July, officials said.
"We have had to conclude that it is not possible to get to an agreement by the deadline that was set for today (Monday) and therefore we will extend...to June 30, 2015," British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said after meetings in Vienna on Monday.
"There will be further meetings in December. Our target is to reach a headline agreement, an agreement on the substance, within the next three months or so," he told reporters.
Under an interim deal reached a year ago, Iran stopped higher level uranium enrichment in exchange for a limited easing of sanctions.
Hammond said "significant progress" had been made in the latest round of talks, which began last week. He said it was expected Iran would continue to refrain from sensitive economic activity.
Separately, the UN's nuclear watchdog reported on Monday that Tehran had reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium gas, while taking other action to comply with the last year's interim agreement.
The West has not accepted Iran's assurances that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, and believes Tehran has ambitions to build a nuclear weapon.
Both Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US Secretary of State John Kerry are scheduled to speak publicly on the nuclear talks later on Monday.
jr/msh (Reuters, dpa, AFP)