Iran still withholding information on nuclear programme, says UN

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Iran is still keeping part of its nuclear programme secret, the United Nations' nuclear watchdog said yesterday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it believed the country was withholding information on "high explosives testing and missile-related activities".

But the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA said the body's latest report proved the nuclear programme was peaceful. The agency said Iran had blocked access to nuclear-related sites inspectors had been asking to visit since April.

Western intelligence agencies said that Iran had secretly studied nuclear bomb designs, claims the Iranians dismissed as baseless, forged or irrelevant.

But some officials said "substantive explanations" were needed. "The report shows in detail how much Iran needs to explain," said Gregory Schulte, the American envoy to the IAEA.

Reuters news agency yesterday quoted an unnamed UN official as saying: "We have not got substantive answers and we could have gotten those earlier. It's up to Iran."

The country has been the subject of three UN sanctions resolutions since 2006, all demanding that it cease its nuclear enrichment activities, which Iran has refused to do.