Iran called on its Western foes on Friday to apologize to the Islamic Republic after the release of a UN nuclear agency report which Tehran said showed it had been telling the truth about its atomic plans.
The IAEA said in its report on Thursday that Iran had made important strides towards clarifying past nuclear activities but was forced to admit Tehran continued to enrich uranium at an industrial level, in defiance of the UN Security Council.
The United States said the report only served to show that Iran was still defying the international community and that Washington would proceed with allies to draft broader United Nations sanctions against it.
But that may prove difficult to accomplish in light of the report. A meeting of world powers on tougher sanctions was cancelled on Friday after China pulled out, European diplomatic sources said. Political directors from Britain, France, Germany, the United States, Russia and China had been scheduled to meet on Monday to assess the IAEA report.
"There is frustration on the Western side over China and Russia not having the same sense of urgency about Iran, and this problem may well increase due to this report," said a European official.
Iran has threatened to stop cooperating if hit with more sanctions. Russia and China want to preserve strong trade ties with Iran and say isolating the Islamic Republic could lead to wider Middle East conflict.
The United States recently imposed unilateral economic sanctions and has not ruled out military action against Iran. Britain has also been pushing hard for a third round of sanctions, including restrictions on energy and financial investment in Iran.
Israel: Iran stalling for time while it develops weapons
Israel issued its first official response to the report on Friday, saying that the IAEA's findings prove Iran's continuing defiance and plans to push ahead with its nuclear program.
"As far as Israel is concerned, the report shows the need for the international community to be resolute in its actions against Iran, including the implementation of heavier sanctions," the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.
"If anything, the report does not indicate any transparency on Iran's part… it only shows that the volume of information Iran is providing the IAEA with regarding its nuclear activities is diminishing, in clear violation of UN orders," said the statement, "it is clear that Iran is merely working to buy time from the international community while it continues to develop nuclear weapons."
News agencies contributed to this report