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. EU welcomes Iran nuclear pledge: diplomats
BRUSSELS (AFP) Nov 14, 2004
The European Union welcomes an Iranian pledge to fully suspend uranium enrichment, ending a deadlock over Washington's charges that Tehran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, diplomats said late Sunday.

A formal reaction is expected on Monday from Britain, France and Germany -- the three EU states spearheading the negotiations with Iran -- a European diplomat said, but added that signs were good.

"This is very good news," he told AFP, after the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said it received an official letter from Iran confirming the suspension.

"It opens the way to start a new chapter of relations" between the Iran and the EU, which has sought to remain constructively engaged with Tehran in contrast to the hardline US stance, he added.

He cautioned that the EU still has to digest the details of the agreement, and that London, Paris and Berlin are likely to make a coordinated response along with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana.

But from initial reports it appears that "the impasse in which we were last week...is over and (the Iranians) fully agree to what has been negotiated," said the diplomat.

In Vienna a source close to the IAEA said Iran has agreed "to implement a full suspension of its uranium enrichment program," the process that makes fuel for nuclear reactors but also the explosive core of atomic bombs.

The IAEA is to mention Iran's agreement in a report to be released Monday ahead of a board meeting November 25 that will decide whether to send Iran to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, as the United States wants.

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