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Iran acts to meet terms of extended nuclear deal with powers: IAEA

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani smiles while replying to a question during a news conference on the sidelines of the 69th United Nations General Assembly at United Nations Headquarters in New York

 

VIENNA (Reuters) – Iran has taken further action to comply with terms of an extended interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a monthly U.N. atomic agency update on the accord’s implementation showed on Monday.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters, made clear that Iran is meeting its commitments under the temporary deal, as it and the major powers are seeking to negotiate a final settlement of their nuclear dispute.

It said Iran had diluted more than 4, 100 kg of uranium enriched to a fissile purity of up to 2 percent down to the level of natural uranium. This was one of the additional steps Iran agreed to undertake when the six-month accord in July was extended by four months.

Refined uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants, Iran’s declared goal, but can also provide the fissile core of a nuclear bomb if processed to a much higher degree, which the West fears may be the country’s ultimate aim.

The IAEA is tasked with checking that Iran is living up to its part of the interim agreement, which was designed to buy time for the current talks on a comprehensive settlement of the stand-off that would dispel fears of a new Middle East war.

Iran denies Western allegations that it has been working to develop a capability to make atomic bombs.

After years of escalating tensions between Iran and the West, the election in mid-2013 of Hassan Rouhani, a pragmatist, as Iranian president on a platform of ending Tehran’s international isolation created new room for diplomacy that ultimately led to last year’s breakthrough nuclear deal.

But it remains unclear whether Iran and the six states will meet a self-imposed Nov. 24 deadline for reaching a long-term agreement to scale back Tehran’s atomic activities in exchange for a gradual phasing-out of crippling economic sanctions.

 

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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