AFP: The European Union will not "cut across" US policy on Iran fresh from securing a deal to suspend the Islamic republic's nuclear uranium drive, a senior EU diplomat said Monday. The agreement between Iran and the EU's three biggest powers -- Britain, France and Germany -- is also only a first step towards a long-term accord on the nuclear issue, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity. AFP

BRUSSELS - The European Union will not "cut across" US policy on Iran fresh from securing a deal to suspend the Islamic republic's nuclear uranium drive, a senior EU diplomat said Monday.

The agreement between Iran and the EU's three biggest powers -- Britain, France and Germany -- is also only a first step towards a long-term accord on the nuclear issue, the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

"The US will make its own mind up as to what they want to do. But we will not want to do anything that cuts across US policy," he told reporters.

"The US knew what we were doing so it won't come as a surprise to them. Maybe there are tactical differences but the objectives are the same," the official added.

The EU has engaged with Iran's Islamic regime, most notably over its nuclear programme, in contrast to the United States, which says the country forms part of a terrorism-sponsoring "axis of evil".

In an 11th-hour deal with the EU trio (E3) late Sunday, Iran agreed to freeze uranium enrichment-related activities to ease fears its fuel cycle work could be diverted to make an atomic bomb.

The agreement, which is to be verified by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was seen as averting the threat of Iran being hauled before the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

The EU diplomat highlighted a portion of the text that says the "E3/EU will support the IAEA Director General inviting Iran to join the Expert Group on Multilateral Approaches to the Nuclear Fuel Cycle".

"This is code to say we will not refer Iran to the UN Security Council," he said.

"After the agreement is verified, we will be partly reassured. But this agreement is only a step towards a long-term agreement. The story is not over yet. There is still work to be done," he added.

Negotiations on a long-term nuclear accord could open "very shortly", while in return the EU will resume talks with Iran on a potentially lucrative trade and cooperation agreement.

Asked whether Iran could walk away from the nuclear deal if it does not secure the trade accord, the diplomat said: "The agreement needs to be implemented in good faith on both sides."

The EU could yet join the United States in demanding the UN Security Council intervene on Iran if it resumes uranium enrichment, he added.