Bushehr nuclear reactor
Bushehr nuclear reactor Reuters

The White House expects that Iran will finish the work it needs to trigger implementation of the nuclear deal with world powers in the coming weeks, White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

Rhodes said Iran still had a number of important things to do after having shipped its stockpile of low enriched uranium out of the country.

“I would expect the Iranians to complete the work necessary to move forward with implementation in the coming weeks,” Rhodes was quoted as having told reporters in Hawaii.

"We are on track to see the implementation of the Iran deal move forward," he added, according to Reuters.

Last week, the Islamic Republic sent a major shipment of low-enriched uranium materials to Russia, which Secretary of State John Kerry hailed as “significant progress”.

The move came a day after Iranian officials said they expected the nuclear agreement between Tehran and the six Western powers to come into force in early January.

The implementation of the deal comes despite a December 2 report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which concluded that Iran made a "coordinated" effort to develop nuclear weapons in the past, although the efforts apparently ended at an early stage.

According to the report, most of the dedicated work took place before 2003, though some parts continued until 2009.

Meanwhile, noted Reuters, Rhodes said Saturday the administration needed more time to prepare sanctions related to Iran's ballistic missile program. He said the delay was not a result of pressure from Tehran.

Last week, President Hassan Rouhani ordered his defense minister to expand Iran's missile program, in defiance of the U.S. threat to impose sanctions over a ballistic missile test Iran carried out in October.

Later that day, it was reported that the White House would delay its plan to impose new financial sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program, with officials explaining the decision came amid growing tensions with Iran over the nuclear deal.