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Thursday March 6, 2014 MYT 6:21:07 PM
Thursday March 6, 2014 MYT 6:22:00 PM
ANKARA (Reuters) - Iran will soon receive a second instalment of previously frozen assets which are being returned to it under an interim nuclear agreement with world powers, the official IRNA news agency quoted its central bank chief as saying.
The official, Valiollah Seif, said on Wednesday that the new funds would be transferred to Iran's account "in the next three days", but did not state the amount.
Under a November 24 accord reached in Geneva, Iran is to scale back its nuclear activities for six months in exchange for sanctions relief from six major powers: Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States.
Iran agreed to suspend enrichment of uranium to 20 percent fissile concentration - a relatively short technical step away from the level required for nuclear bombs - and is taking action to neutralise its holding of the material.
In return, it is gradually winning back access to $4.2 billion (2.5 billion pounds) of its oil revenues frozen abroad, along with some other sanctions relief.
The funds will be paid out in eight transfers on a schedule that started with a $550 million payment by Japan on February 1.
Last month, banking sources said South Korea was set to make two payments in March totalling $1 billion.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has a pivotal role in checking that Iran is living up to its part of the accord. Its head, Yukiya Amano, indicated on Monday that Iran had made sufficient progress to receive a scheduled March 1 instalment of $450 million. A third payment of $550 million is due on March 7.
The nuclear agreement aims to give the two sides six months to reach a comprehensive deal to address all questions about whether Iran seeks nuclear arms.
Iran denies any such intention, saying its program is for solely peaceful purposes such as generating electricity and producing medical isotopes.
(Additional reporting by Fredrik Dahl in Vienna, Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Mark Trevelyan)
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