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Last Updated: Friday, 18 June, 2004, 13:14 GMT 14:14 UK
UN raps Iran over nuclear stance
Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant
A bad report card for Iran from the IAEA but no sanctions yet
Iran has been sharply rebuked by the United Nations atomic agency for failing to co-operate fully with an inquiry into its nuclear activities.

The International Atomic Energy Agency called on Iran to do more, so the probe can be concluded in the coming months.

But the resolution does not threaten to report the country to the Security Council for possible sanctions.

The US has accused Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons - a charge the government in Tehran denies.

Harsh words

The IAEA's board in Vienna voted to adopt the resolution which "deplores" the fact that "Iran's co-operation has not been as full, timely and proactive as it should have been."

The IAEA expresses serious concern that important information about Iran's P2 centrifuges, which can be used to produce bomb-grade uranium, has been incomplete and unclear.

The motion says that after almost two years since Iran's undeclared programme came to light, "a number of questions remain outstanding".

Aerial view of Natanz facility
Iran has been accused of keeping some of its nuclear activities secret [Photo: Digitalglobe]
It acknowledges that some progress has been made into establishing the nature of the activities but says the inquiry should be wrapped up in the next few months.

Correspondents said the text used strong language by the standards of diplomatic terminology.

But it did not contain any deadline or trigger mechanism to set into motion possible sanctions against Iran.

Britain, France and Germany drafted the resolution as a compromise after the US wanted to hold Iran to a timetable that could lead to UN sanctions.

Tehran has accused the three of working with its arch-foe Washington, which says Iran is developing nuclear arms.

Crunch time

Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi criticised the resolution but repeated that Iran would meet its commitments to the UN nuclear watchdog.

"We will work within the framework of international obligations," he said, while saying that Iran would "not accept any new obligation".

The BBC's Jim Muir in Tehran says the Iranians clearly feel the UN body, prompted by the US, is being excessively fussy over details.

The crunch point may come later this year after the next IAEA board meeting to discuss the issue in September, our correspondent says.

The US chief delegate to the IAEA, Kenneth Brill, said the resolution put the board "on record as rejecting Iran's continuing tactics of delay, denial and deception."

Under growing international pressure, Iran has suspended uranium enrichment and allowed the IAEA to inspect its nuclear facilities without notice.

But Tehran rejects US allegations that its nuclear programme is being used to make weapons and says it is solely for generating electricity.

On Thursday, the IAEA admitted it had wrongly reported that Iran withheld information from it.

The IAEA reported in June that Tehran had failed to inform it about importing magnets for advanced centrifuges which can produce weapons-grade uranium.

However, it now says Iran made an oral statement about the magnets in January.

The BBC's Bethany Bell
"Iran says its nuclear programme is purely peaceful"

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