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Iran preps for start of landmark deal



Published: Mon, January 20, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

NUCLEAR AGREEMENT

Associated Press

TEHRAN, IRAN

Ahead of the start of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, an official in the Islamic Republic called limiting uranium enrichment and diluting its stockpile the country’s “most important commitments,” state radio reported Sunday.

The comments by Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman of Iran’s atomic department, show how the government of moderate President Hassan Rouhani welcomes the deal, which begins today.

International inspectors also already have arrived in Tehran, preparing for the government opening its facilities to them.

“Implementation of mutual commitments in the framework of the Geneva deal will begin from tomorrow,” Kamalvandi said.

“Under the agreement, suspension of 20-percent enrichment of uranium — and the diluting of the current stockpile of enriched uranium — are the most important commitments of our country.”

Iran struck the deal in November with the so-called P5+1 countries — Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.

Negotiators agreed to final terms of the deal last Monday.

Under the agreement, Iran will limit its uranium enrichment to 5 percent — the grade commonly used to power reactors.

The deal also commits Iran to stop producing 20 percent enriched uranium — which is only a technical step away from weapons-grade material — and to neutralize its 20 percent stockpile over the six months.

In exchange, economic sanctions Iran faces would be eased for six months.

Senior officials in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration have put the total relief figure at some $7 billion.

During the six months, negotiations between Iran and the world powers would continue in hopes of reaching a permanent deal.

The West fears Iran’s nuclear program could allow it to build an atomic weapon.

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, such as power generation and medical research.


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