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Iran Withdraws Nuclear Research Demand

Iran has formally withdrawn its demand to exempt some equipment from an international deal freezing its controversial uranium enrichment efforts.

The withdrawal agreement came Sunday in a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

Western diplomats say the new agreement appears to have averted a showdown with the IAEA over Iran's demand to exempt about 20 nuclear centrifuges from a pact reached earlier with European governments.

Diplomats from Britain, France and Germany, who brokered the freeze, had threatened to drop opposition to possible U.N. sanctions if Iran reneged on the signed deal banning all uranium enrichment activities.

Under the original deal, Tehran was to have maintained the freeze while the IAEA investigates U.S. allegations that Iran is secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly denied the charges.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP, AP.