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Iran nuclear deal to enter into force on 20 January

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A date has been set for the start of an interim deal to freeze Iran's nuclear programme - reports Sky News.

Iran and six world powers have agreed on how to implement the nuclear deal struck in November and it will enter into force on January 20. The move was welcomed by Foreign Secretary William Hague as an important first step. The announcement starts a six-month clock for a final deal to be struck over the Islamic Republic's contested nuclear programme.

The West accuses Iran of seeking nuclear weapons, but Tehran has consistently denied that. Under the deal, Iran has agreed to halt enrichment of uranium above 5% purity and "neutralise" its stockpile of near-20%-enriched uranium. It will also provide daily access to inspectors.

The deal also signals an easing of the financial sanctions crippling Iran's economy, though many US politicians have called for continuing tough measures against the country.European Union negotiator Catherine Ashton praised the deal in a statement. She said: "The foundations for a coherent, robust and smooth implementation ... have been laid."

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called the deal "a decisive step forward which we can build on." But President Barack Obama warned of a tough road ahead to realise a comprehensive solution.


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