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U.S. defreezes Iranian funds

18 April 2014 [10:45] - TODAY.AZ
The United States has authorized the release of a $450 million installment of frozen Iranian funds, indicating that Washington is willing to make good on its commitments made last year under an interim nuclear agreement between Tehran and six world powers, Press TV reported.

Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States - plus Germany signed the short-term pact in the Swiss city of Geneva last November to pave the way for the full resolution of the West's decade-old dispute with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear energy program. The deal came into force on January 20.

Under the Geneva agreement, dubbed the Joint Plan of Action, the Sextet agreed to provide Iran with some sanctions relief in exchange for Tehran agreeing to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities during a six-month period.

The US State Department made the announcement of releasing the Iranian funds on Thursday, following a report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) verifying that Iran was complying with the terms of the pact.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said that "all sides have kept the commitments made" under the agreement. She said that "as Iran remains in line with its commitments," the US, France, Germany, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union "will continue to uphold our commitments as well."

"Based on this confirmation and consistent with commitments that the United States made under the Joint Plan of Action (November 24 pact), the Department of Treasury took the necessary steps pursuant to the JPOA to facilitate the release of a $450 million installment of Iran's frozen funds," Harf stated.

In its monthly report released on Thursday, the IAEA said Tehran has diluted half of its uranium earlier enriched to the 20-percent purity to a lower grade to power reactors.

The other half of the stockpile is to be converted into a form that would be relatively difficult to be reconverted to the 20 percent level.

On Wednesday, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said, "I can tell you, these measures [by Iran] are being implemented as planned."

Iran and the six powers are scheduled to resume expert-level talks on Tehran's nuclear energy program in New York on May 5.

The negotiations will be held ahead of a fresh round of high-level nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group, scheduled to begin in the Austrian capital, Vienna, on May 13.

Tehran and the six countries wrapped up their latest round of high-level nuclear talks in Vienna on April 9.

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