VIENNA /NEW YORK - Iran is taking further action to comply with an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a monthly U.N. atomic agency report showed, a finding the West may see as positive ahead of a November deadline for clinching a long-term deal.

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters, made clear that Iran is meeting its commitments under the temporary deal, as it and major powers seek to negotiate a final settlement of a decade-old nuclear dispute.

It said Iran had diluted more than 4,100 kg of uranium enriched to a fissile concentration of up to 2 percent down to the level of natural uranium. This was one of the additional steps Iran agreed to undertake when the six-month accord that took effect early this year was extended by four months in July.

Refined uranium can be used to fuel nuclear power plants, Iran’s declared goal, but can also provide the fissile core of a nuclear bomb if processed to a much higher degree, which Western states fear may be the country’s ultimate aim. The IAEA is tasked with checking that Iran is living up to its part of the interim agreement, which was designed to buy time for the current talks on a comprehensive solution of the stand-off that would dispel fears of a new Middle East war.

Iran denies Western allegations that it has been working to develop a capability to make atomic bombs.

In a bid to avoid a vote it would lose, the Obama administration will not seek congressional approval to suspend sanctions against Iran if a deal on the Islamic republic’s nuclear programme can be reached, according to a media report. Citing American and Iranian officials, The New York Times said Iran has agreed in principle that a “suspension” of sanctions would be enough for them to take away from the negotiating table.

“But (President Barack) Obama cannot permanently terminate those sanctions. Only Congress can take that step. And even if Democrats held on to the Senate next month, Obama’s advisers have concluded they would probably lose such a vote,” The Times wrote.

The difference between a temporary suspension and an outright revocation can keep attorneys up at nights, but there is no immediate-term difference and the Obama administration plans to use that to its advantage.

 “We wouldn’t seek congressional legislation in any comprehensive agreement for years,” one senior official told the newspaper. A deal with Iran probably would not be a formal treaty and thus would not constitutionally require the Senate’s approval, but lawmakers of both parties say that doesn’t matter - they don’t want the administration undermining sanctions Congress has duly passed.

Congress will not permit the president to unilaterally unravel Iran sanctions that passed the Senate in a 99-0 vote,” said Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican.

Indeed, Senator Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has sponsored legislation that would impose further sanctions on Iran if a nuclear deal isn’t inked by the Nov 24 deadline set by the negotiating countries, Iran, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -Britain, China, Drance, Russia and the United Statees - plus Germany, representing the European Union.

“If a potential deal does not substantially and dismantle Iran’s illicit nuclear weapons programme, I expect Congress will respond. An agreement cannot allow Iran to be a threshold nuclear state,” he told The Times over the weekend. The talks are still haggling over such issues as the scope of international inspections and details of the nuclear-related facilities Iran will continue to have.

Iran also wants broader relief from United Nations sanctions that, for example, bar it from importing dual-use equipment. “Between now and 2017 Obama’s goal is to avert an Iranian bomb and avert bombing Iran,” said Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. “If Congress feels

obliged to pass additional sanctions, the best way to do it would be to

create a deterrent - basically to say if you recommence activities Iran

has halted, here are new sanctions.”

But Obama is feeling pressure as wel, the dispatch saidl. “Some cracks are appearing in the sanctions regime. In the spring, the administration was alarmed to see a spike in Chinese purchases of Iranian oil, seeming to undercut the

sanctions. More recently the figures have declined again. Nonetheless

they are the subject of behind-the-scenes talks between American and

Chinese officials. And the Iranians want far more than a suspension of

American-led sanctions: They are also pressing for an end to United

Nations Security Council resolutions that bar “dual use” exports that

have civilian uses but also could be used in nuclear and missile

programs; those resolutions give the United States and its allies a

legal basis for demanding inspections of shipments to Iran that could be part of a covert programme.”