Irans Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and ministers from six world powers are expected to hold their first full session today in the current round of talks on Tehrans nuclear programme.
Representatives from the US, France, Germany, the UK, China and Russia have arrived in Lausanne, Switzerland, in an attempt to reach an agreement on limiting Irans nuclear development in exchange for relief for economic sanctions.
Iran and the P5+1 world powers have been in talk for nuclear talks for 18 months since the breakthrough interim agreement was signed in Geneva and are now aiming to reach a deal by a self-imposed 31-March deadline.
Crunch time for Iran talks
Mark Watts explains the likelihood of the two sides reaching an agreement, the impact any agreement will have on Irans economy and what could happen if a deal is not reached.
Iran talks due to end
The US State Department said it expects talks to intensify as the two sides assess whether an understanding is possible.
The end of sanctions could drive significant overseas investment into the countrys ailing oil and gas industry. Iran has announced plans to tender 17 oil and gas blocks to international oil companies (IOCs), but there is little interest while sanctions remain in place.
Tehran could also immediately ramp-up oil exports, leading to downward pressure on global crude prices as Iranian crude floods an already oversupplied market.
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- Iran has the worlds fourth-largest oil reserves and second-largest gas reserves
- Oil companies likely to face delays even if sanctions eased
- Companies will need to ensure they dont unwittingly break any sanctions left in place
- Irans economy would be the biggest winner if a deal is reached
- It would give Iran access to investment to improve its infrastructure
- Israel and Saudi Arabia fear Iran is becoming a major Middle East influence by the back door
- $1bn of rail projects under study
- Access to finance main problem for projects
- Aviation industry in desperate need of new aircraft
- Some banks allowed to deal with Iran within very narrow boundaries
- Iran remains excluded from Swift the global bank messaging system
- Any easing of trade restrictions will need support of banks to fund trade flows
- World leaders arrive in Lausanne for Iran nuclear talks
- France and Germany joint US and Iran in talks
- Sides hope to reach agreement by 31 March
- Reports suggest Iran has stored as much as 35 million barrels
- Ability to sell the crude reliant on whether shipping and insurance sanctions are also lifted
- Oil buyers likely to be lining up in the hope of securing a good deal on stored crude