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Iran says days away from nuke deal implementation

Iran says Tuesday it had entered the final days of completing its commitments under a landmark international deal to curb its atomic program after it shipped low-enriched uranium to Russia.

Iran’s atomic energy agency says 11 tons of uranium materials were sent to Russia on Monday, a move US Secretary of State John Kerry said was “significant progress” under the July 14 nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers.

Monday’s shipment was part of an exchange under which Iran received natural uranium from Russia and Kazakhstan to be used in nuclear reactors for future energy production.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s atomic energy agency, says on Tuesday that Iran had received around 200 tons of yellow cake, a powder obtained in an intermediate step in the processing of natural uranium ore.

The exchange was one of three major measures Iran had to take to fulfill its end of the nuclear deal, after the International Atomic Energy Agency earlier this month closed its file on possible past military dimensions of Tehran’s nuclear program.

The other two steps are ensuring a dramatic cut to Tehran’s number of functional centrifuges — fast-spinning machines used to enrich uranium — and replacing the core of a reactor at its Arak nuclear facility.

Kamalvandi says “Implementation Day” when almost a decade of nuclear-related sanctions on Iran will be lifted is now near.

“We can say that everything is set for the final step, which is removing the core part (of the Arak reactor)” and replacing it with a new one, he says.

“An agreement has been signed and preparations have been done. If we can finish the few minor things in the coming days, everything will be completed.”

AFP

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