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Iran nuclear freeze to start by January: Envoy

AFP , Friday 29 Nov 2013
Iran's Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, Reza Najafi waits for the start of the IAEA board of governors meeting at the International Center in Vienna, Austria, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 (Photo: AP)
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Iran's six-month freeze of its nuclear programme agreed with world powers in Geneva will start by January, Tehran's envoy to the UN atomic watchdog said Friday.

"We expect that either the end of December or the beginning of January we should start implementing the measures agreed by both sides," Reza Najafi, envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, told reporters.

The breakthrough accord struck last weekend between Iran and the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- the P5+1 -- foresees Iran rolling back some of its nuclear programme temporarily in exchange for sanctions relief.

The temporary freeze is meant to make it more difficult for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon and to build confidence while Tehran and the P5+1 hammer out a long-term accord.

Together with increased inspections, Iran's compliance will have to be verified by the IAEA, and Najafi said that "preliminary discussions" have already taken place with the agency on how this would work.

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