Ministers from Iran and six world powers lurch into an eighth day of talks on Tehran's nuclear programme, with a deal at their fingertips. David Pollard reports.
Two days past a deadline, and still counting.... Iran and ministers from six Western powers pushed through the night in a bid to, finally, strike a deal. The US foreign secretary, John Kerry, joined for a briefing by his boss in the White House .... While, after the marathon night-time session, Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, spoke to Iranian TV. IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, SAYING: "There's been a lot of discussion since last night and there has been some progress towards preparing a draft agreement. But we haven't reached the point yet where we can say what the outcome of these meetings will be, but it won't be more than one joint statement." At stake: an agreement to block Tehran's capacity to build a nuclear bomb - in exchange for lifting sanctions. All sides under pressure to come up with something. Even more so after a White House warning that it was prepared to walk away from the talks, if necessary. A deal desirable - but not at any cost, according to Seven Investment Management's Justin Urquhart Stewart. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JUSTIN URQUHART STEWART, SEVEN INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, SAYING: ''This is really very important indeed. But it's got to be an agreement that's people can see as being credible, and not just being a fudge, with people thinking it's a last-minute sticky tape just to try and get an agreement. If it hasn't got the then we'll get right back to where we started.'' Sanctions have halved Iran's oil exports to just over one million barrels per day since 2012. Oil futures fell further as the talks entered their eight day at a Swiss lakeside hotel, on the prospect of a deal unlocking its oil exports. IG's Alastair McCaig. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ALASTAIR MCCAIG, MARKET COMMENTATOR, IG.COM SAYING: ''It's worth remembering that Iran is arguably the 3rd largest oil producer of the OPEC nations. So if sanctions were eased considerably, and if they were able to come back to the markets with their full supply, we could easily a 10 per cent fall in the oil prices. The shift in balance of supply and demand really hasn't been altered by increased demand and this would once again be fresh supply offered to the market. '' That might be some way off. An agreement would almost certainly lift sanctions only in stages, deferring even a partial return of Iran's crude to the market until at least next year.