Sanctions Lifted On $485-M Of ’s

Iran took possession of a 13-tons of Gold worth $485-M held up by sanctions after working out a deal during the nuclear talks in Vienna, the country’s chief told Iranian late Thursday.

“A sum of 13 tons of Gold that had been purchased before and was deposited in South Africa in the past 2 years and could not be transferred to Iran due to the sanctions … was delivered to the Central Bank of Iran’s treasury last night,” Valiollah Seif, who heads the Central Bank of Iran, said, according to the Iranian state-owned Fars News.

Mr. Seif said the transfer is evidence the talks are making success.

Fars News reported the retrieval of the Gold was the result of months of hard work.

The US State Department said the timing was unrelated to the current talks but rather stems from an interim agreement reached in November 2013. That deal suspended sanctions on trade with Iran in Gold and precious metals starting January 2014.

Iran is negotiating with the 5P+1 members of the United Nations Security Council, the , , France, and plus on a deal to lift international sanctions in return for limits on Iran’s nuclear program. Negotiators extended a Tuesday deadline for another week and are now seeking a deal by 7 July . The agreement is intended to ensure Iran’s nuclear program remains as peaceful as that nation claims it is.

Secretary of State John Kerry, in Vienna met Thursday with his counterparts from Britain, China, the European Union and Iran.

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi told reporters he believes there’s a “high probability” of reaching “a fair, balanced and just agreement.”

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said “we’re not at any kind of breakthrough moment yet, and we will do whatever we need to do to keep the momentum.”

Among the outstanding issues is to what extent Iran will cooperate with an IAEA investigation into evidence of past weapons research, and what access Iran will provide to international weapons inspectors charged with verifying the country complies with the terms of any deal. World powers want Iran to provide access to any suspect site, including military sites, while Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei has ruled out “unusual” inspections to military sites.

Have a terrific weekend.