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Sun 30 Sep 2007 12:41 PM

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Iran moves to avert sanctions

Iran to work with IAEA to defuse nuclear programme row, says Foreign Ministry spokesman Hosseini.

Iran will continue its cooperation with the UN atomic watchdog to defuse a row over its nuclear program, an Iranian official said on Sunday, accusing some Western states of trying to disrupt the process.

Six world powers agreed on Friday to delay a vote on tougher UN sanctions on Iran until late November at the earliest, to wait for reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and European Union negotiator Javier Solana.

The US and France had sought swifter action to step up economic and political pressure on Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, which the West suspects is aimed at developing nuclear arms. Iran denies those charges.

"The process that certain radical countries have followed so far is to disrupt the positive climate that has been put in place through the cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the agency," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.

"That has not helped them, therefore they have been forced to be patient," he told a news conference, adding that other states were backing Iran's cooperation with the IAEA.

He was speaking at a news conference broadcast by Iran's English-language Press TV, which translated Hosseini's comments.

"To put a stop to possible sanctions, we are going to continue working with the agency and our diplomatic efforts will continue unabated," Hosseini added.

Foreign ministers of the US, Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain asked Solana to hold more talks with Iran's nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, while the IAEA tries to clear up doubts about past Iranian nuclear activities.

The decision to make another stab at the European Union-led diplomacy while brandishing the threat of fresh sanctions if it fails reflected a compromise among the major powers.