Iran says UN report proves its nuclear intentions are peaceful

DUBAI (REUTERS) - Iran on Saturday said the latest UN report on its nuclear activities, which calculated it had slashed its nuclear stockpile by around 80 per cent, proved its atomic programme was peaceful.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in its quarterly report on Friday that Iran had reduced its stockpile of higher-grade enriched uranium gas under an interim pact with world powers.

It also said it had started to engage with a long-stalled IAEA investigation into suspected weapons research.

A steep cut in uranium gas - a relatively short technical step away from weapons-grade material - is among concessions demanded by the United states and its Western countries in return for limited easing of economic sanctions against Teheran. "The report is an affirmation of Iran's claim to peaceful activities," nuclear spokesman Behruz Kamalvandi told the official news agency IRNA. "No deviations have been seen in these activities."

Western countries have long suspected the Islamic republic of seeking nuclear weapons capability and Teheran's cooperation with the IAEA is a test of any progress in the current talks with the six world power known as P5+1.

The latest round of negotiations failed to make much headway last week, raising doubts over the prospects for a breakthrough by the late July deadline.