According to the UN nuclear agency, Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms.
The conversion of its stock of 20%-enriched uranium was part of a deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program.
The US said last week it would unblock $2.8 billion in frozen Iranian funds in return for Iran’s compliance.
A four-month extension to talks on Iran’s nuclear ambitions was agreed on Friday between Iran and world powers.
The talks are aimed at persuading Iran to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
Iran has turned all of its enriched uranium closest to the level needed to make nuclear arms into more harmless forms
The six world powers involved in the talks – the US, France, China, Russia, Germany and the UK – suspect Iran seeks atomic weapons, which Iran denies.
The country insists that it is enriching uranium for use in nuclear power stations and for medical purposes.
Correspondents say Iran’s completion of eliminating its most worrying uranium stockpile is a promising sign that its leaders do not want to derail the diplomatic process.
A new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says Iran is observing all of its other commitments as well.
Iran had more than 200 kg of 20%-enriched uranium when the preliminary agreement to convert it was reached last November.
At 20%, enriched uranium can be converted quickly to arm a nuclear weapon and experts said 200kg was enough to make one nuclear warhead.
Negotiations between the six powers and Iran are set to resume in September, with the deadline for an agreement on November 24.
The parties have been unable to reach agreement on imposing long-term restrictions over Iran’s uranium enrichment and plutonium production – processes that could yield material for nuclear warheads.
In a joint statement after last week’s talks, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said: “There are still significant gaps on some core issues which will require more time and effort.”
A deal could see the lifting of oil and trade sanctions on Iran.
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Iran has started restricting its uranium enrichment, state TV says, under an agreement which will also trigger an easing of international sanctions.
Centrifuges used for enrichment were disconnected at the Nantaz plant, according to TV.
The move is part of a deal reached with the US, Russia, China and European powers last November.
The UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, will now confirm whether Tehran is implementing its side of the agreement.
This should pave the way for partial suspension of EU and US sanctions, allowing Iran to restart petrochemical exports and trade in gold, worth billions of dollars.
“The IAEA inspectors in the Natanz plant are disconnecting cascades,” the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, said.
“The sanctions iceberg against Iran is melting.”
The West accuses Teheran of seeking nuclear weapons, but it denies the claim, saying its program is solely for peaceful purposes.
Verification by IAEA inspectors that the terms of the deal are being implemented by Teheran is expected to happen by the end of Monday.
Iran has started restricting its uranium enrichment under an agreement which will also trigger an easing of international sanctions
Within an hour or two restrictions on Iran’s trade would then be lifted.
On Sunday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he hoped for “positive results for the country, as well as regional and global peace and security”.
Under the terms of the agreement, reached with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, Iran has agreed to halt enrichment of uranium above 5% purity.
It will “neutralize” its stockpile of near-20%-enriched uranium.
In return, the world powers agreed to suspend certain sanctions on trade in gold and precious metals, Iran’s automotive sector, and its petrochemical exports.
Officials said as a result of the deal:
- From Monday, Iran starts diluting its stockpile of 20%-enriched uranium
- All 20%-enriched uranium will be gone within six months
- Daily access will be provided to the Fordo uranium enrichment site near the holy city of Qom
- Monthly inspections will be allowed at the Arak heavy water reactor
In return, US President Barack Obama has said the US and the other five powers over the next six months will begin to implement “modest relief” so long as Iran fulfill its obligations.
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