The United Nations nuclear watchdog said on Thursday it wanted to send representatives to Iran to seek answers from the Islamic republic about a report containing intelligence that Tehran has worked on developing a nuclear weapon, dpa reported.
"It is essential that any such mission should be well planned and that it should address the issues contained in my report," Yukiya Amano, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a statement out of Vienna, where the IAEA board was due to meet later in the day.
Amano said he was concerned that last week's report by his agency on Iran's nuclear activities "indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."
"It also indicates that, prior to the end of 2003, these activities took place under a structured programme, and that some activities may still be ongoing," he said.
The five permanent United Nations Security Council members and Germany are trying to reach a final agreement on a draft resolution on Iran, Western diplomats said. They added that world powers were still waiting for a formal agreement from China.
The draft text requests Iran to answer the questions raised by the report and tasks Amano with reporting about Tehran's reaction before the next meeting of the IAEA's 35-country board in March, diplomats said.
"It tries to provide a timeframe for Iran," a Western diplomat said.
The text stops short of referring the matter to the Security Council, but Western countries have warned that they might slap additional sanctions on Iran should it not address concerns about it nuclear activities.
Russia and China have criticized the IAEA's report, saying it might escalate the stand-off with Iran.
Despite their criticism, both countries have been quietly working on the resolution.
The IAEA report raised concerns that that Israel, which views a nuclear armed Iran as an existential threat, could attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
Iran denies it is seeking a nuclear weapon. It says its programme is peaceful.