Iran suspends some nuclear enrichment

Iran has suspended high-level uranium enrichment as part of an interim nuclear deal with the world powers, according to reports.

Iranian authorities halted the enrichment of uranium to 20 percent, Iranian state television reported Jan. 20.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he hoped the implementation of the first phase of the joint action plan signed with the P5+1 world powers — the United States, Germany, Russia, England, France and China — would mean “a positive outcome for the country and would bring further peace and stability to the region and the world,” according to Iran’s official news agency.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, confirmed that the centrifuges at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility had been taken off line, according to the Associated Press.

Under the plan first agreed to in November, Iran will freeze most of its nuclear enrichment capability, including not installing or starting up additional centrifuges or using next-generation centrifuges.

In return, the world powers will grant Iran some relief from economic sanctions. Iran also will allow new and more frequent inspections of its nuclear sites.

Under the deal, Iran will continue to enrich uranium up to 5 percent.

The interim deal will last for six months as Iran and the world powers work on a final deal. — jta