Rapprochement between Iran and the US has taken a positive step after the two sides agreed a date to implement the interim agreement on suspending parts of Tehran’s nuclear programme.

Iran reached an interim deal with the P5+1 world powers in November, but Washington has now revealed that it will take effect on 20 January.

From this date, Iran will begin to eliminate its stockpile of “higher levels of enriched uranium and dismantling some of the infrastructure that makes such enrichment possible”, US President Barack Obama said in a statement.

In return, the P5 + 1 powers – the US, China, France, Russia, the UK and Germany – have agreed to provide “modest relief” to some of the economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic. This includes the scaling back of sanctions against Iran’s petrochemicals, automotive and aviation industries.

The deal, which was hammered out in Geneva in November 2013, represented a major breakthrough after years of political tension between Iran and the West.

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will now be asked to oversee the enforcement of the agreement.

Iran’s diplomatic relations with the US and other world powers have opened up significantly since Hassan Rouhani took over as Iranian president in August 2013.

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