Iran and six powers have failed for a second time this year to resolve their 12-year dispute over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. As Sonia Legg reports, they gave themselves seven more months to overcome the deadlock that has prevented them from clinching an historic deal.
They captured the moment on camera - but it was hardly an auspicious occasion. The only thing the delegates taking part in the Iran nuclear talks could agree on was another extension It's the second time this year attempts to resolve the 12-year dispute have failed. Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER, FRANK-WALTER STEINMEIER, SAYING: "We did not get as far as we hoped despite great conditions and despite very constructive talks. We made some progress, new ideas came to the table which might be able to bridge some of the differences. But since it is about technical details we need the experts to have a look at the new ideas." The US, France, and Britain, along with Germany, Russia and China now have until June next year to reach a deal with Iran. There would have been benefits for both sides. Iran would have seen a lifting of restrictive western sanctions - the west a scaling down of Iran's nuclear capabilities. An agreement would also have also boosted the world economy at a time when it certainly needs it. CMC Markets Michael Hewson says investors though weren't surprised. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CMC MARKET COMMENTATOR, MICHAEL HEWSON, SAYING: "I think the bigger focus at the moment is an agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran and the OPEC meeting later this week. I think markets are more concerned about that - as to whether we will get a significant production cut from Saudi Arabia in an attempt to halt the downward spiral in oil prices that we have seen since the middle of the summer." Talks will resume next month - and there are hopes a 'headline agreement' will be reached within three months. In the meantime the delegates expect Iran to continue to refrain from sensitive atomic activity.