Iran: Part of $4.2 billion cut off by sanctions now in Tehran's hands

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Story highlights

  • Six world powers agreed to lift some sanctions against Iran in November
  • In exchange, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program
  • The first installment amounts to $550 million, Iranian media reports
  • Sanctions were suspended on items such as gold and petrochemical exports

Iran has received the first part of its $4.2 billion in oil funds that had been frozen overseas due to sanctions, the country's state-run Press TV reported.

In November, Iran and six world powers reached an interim deal under which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for an easing of economic sanctions.

The six world powers, called the P5+1, include the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- the United States, Britain, China, Russia and France -- as well as Germany

According to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency, the first installment amounts to $550 million.

CNN was trying to reach representatives of the P5+1 countries for confirmation Sunday.

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The deal

As part of the temporary, six-month deal reached in November, world powers agreed to suspend sanctions on items such as gold and petrochemical exports. That suspension would provide Iran with about $1.5 billion in revenue, according to the U.S. White House.

    Iran, meanwhile, must dilute its stockpile of uranium enriched to 20%, halt all enrichment above 5% and dismantle the technical equipment required to do that enrichment. The 5% enrichment level is well below the level needed to make nuclear weapons.

    The Iranian regime has insisted it is using nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only.

    But many countries have been skeptical, and Canada has decided to keep its sanctions against Iran in pace.

    "People of #Iran deserve freedom & prosperity denied them by regime's nuclear ambitions," Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird tweeted after the November deal. "Until then, Canadian sanctions remain in full force."

    Iran has stumbled from one economic crisis to the next under the sanctions, with unemployment topping 20%.

    But because the deal is temporary, it remains unclear what the world powers might offer -- and demand of -- Iran in the future.