Six world powers and Iran have agreed to start implementing an interim nuclear deal on Jan. 20, the EU's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement on Sunday.

Ashton represents the six nations - the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - in diplomatic contacts with Iran related to the nuclear standoff.

She said the sides would now ask the United Nations' nuclear watchdog to verify the deal's implementation.

"We will ask the IAEA to undertake the necessary nuclear-related monitoring and verification activities," she said.

Under the Nov. 24 agreement, Iran has promised to curb its most sensitive nuclear activities in return for some relief from Western economic sanctions.

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