( AFP ) - Iran must provide key details on its nuclear programme by late November or its unwillingness to work with the international community will "backfire", the UN's nuclear chief said in an interview published on Wednesday.
Speaking to the Financial Times from Vienna, Mohamed ElBaradei said that the two key issues that required clarification before he delivered a report to the governing body of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) next month had to do with Iran's research capabilities and its nuclear weaponisation capacity.
"I've told the Iranians: "This is your litmus test. You committed yourself to come clean. If you don't, nobody will be able to come to your support'," the IAEA director said, referring to a timetable agreed between Iran and the IAEA last month for it to answer outstanding questions about its nuclear programme.
ElBaradei added that if Iran failed to adhere to the timetable, which requires that he present the report on November 22, it would "backfire in their face".
He said that the two major issues that needed to be resolved were Iran's research and development capabilities regarding enrichment, and its capacity to weaponise nuclear matierials.
"I would hope that by November we would have resolved these two issues but I can't say how far we will go ... The key is to show that Iran is acting with us in good faith, with good intentions," he told the business daily.
ElBaradei also defended the deal his agency struck with Iran for the timetable, saying he had not gone beyond his brief, despite reportedly infuriating several major Western powers.
"I was frankly very surprised and concerned that most of the media was hoodwinked into repeating a myth that this was something we had done on our own - some kind of "do it yourself diplomacy'."
The Security Council has already passed two resolutions imposing sanctions against Tehran to punish its defiant refusal to heed ultimatums to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment activities.
Iran vehemently rejects charges it is seeking a nuclear weapon, saying the atomic drive is aimed solely at generating electricity for a growing population.