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U.S. Cautiously Welcomes EU-Iran Nuclear Accord

17 November 2004 -- The United States yesterday called Iran's promise to freeze all activity related to nuclear enrichment useful but said the suspension had to be verified.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher sounded a note of guarded optimism about the Iranian promises. It was Washington's first formal comment on the agreement between Iran and Britain, Germany, France -- the big three of the European Union.

Boucher said the Iranian move is "a useful step." But he added it has to be implemented and verified.

The United States accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons and wants the matter to be addressed by the UN Security Council, which could impose sanctions. Tehran says its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity.

Under the deal unveiled on 15 November, Tehran agreed to freeze all enrichment activities. Hard-line members of Iran's parliament have condemned the accord.