Iranian nuclear officials say Tehran will export most of its enriched uranium stockpile to Russia in the coming days as it implements a nuclear deal to secure relief from international sanctions.
The Iranian news agency IRNA quotes nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi as saying on December 19 that "around nine tons of Iran's enriched uranium will be exported to Russia."
That is roughly the amount that Iran must export to bring its stockpile down to the required level under the sanctions-relief deal.
Salehi did not give a precise timetable for what he meant by "in the coming days."
Under the terms of the deal it reached in July with world powers, Iran must reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium to around 300 kilograms. It must also deactivate and store most of its centrifuges, and remove the core of a heavy water reactor in Arak so it cannot be used to produce plutonium.
On December 16, Tehran said it was working to complete the requirements in the next two to three weeks, after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) closed its investigation of Iran's past nuclear activities.
The 35-nation governing board of the IAEA passed a resolution on December 15 ending the UN nuclear watchdog agency's 12-year-long inquiry into suspicions of "possible military dimensions" to Iran's nuclear work.
IAEA chief Yukiya Amano said afterward that Tehran has taken the necessary steps to cooperate with the agency and that it was "not impossible" that sanctions could be lifted in January.
Iran has shown a strong apparent desire in recent weeks to build on the momentum of the nuclear deal and restore international economic links after years of sanctions.
Iranian Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said on December 17 that Tehran is prepared to begin negotiations for membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Iran first applied for WTO membership in July 1996, but progress had been minimal since then due to tensions over the Iranian nuclear crisis.
With reporting by Reuters and IRNA