Quoted by the state news agency IRNA, Kamal Kharazi also asserted that despite the disagreements with the Vienna-based UN watchdog there was no question of the Islamic republic pulling out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

"We will not allow anyone to deprive us of our right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and in particular of our right to enrich fuel for our power stations.”

Kharazi said Iran was "very determined" to defend such a right.

"We are currently negotiating with the IAEA so that our rights  are not held up for ridicule and so that nobody infringes our country's prestige," he said, amid a crucial visit to Iran by a team of IAEA inspectors. "We have nothing to fear from inspections. When one has nothing to hide, one has no reason to worry," he added, asserting that "we are committed to the NPT and leaving it is not a question." 

Deadline
 
Pushed by the United States, the IAEA on 12 September gave Iran until the end of this month to guarantee it is not developing and will not develop nuclear weapons.

The IAEA has asked Iran to produce a detailed list of its nuclear-related equipment, notably parts used in centrifuges for uranium enrichment, in order to resolve what have been described as "outstanding issues."

On Monday, the United States has said Iran must address all the IAEA demands and cannot select which concerns it will address.

Tehran vehemently denies Washington's accusations that it is pursuing clandestine nuclear weapons development under the cover of its civilian atomic energy programme.

Failure by Iran to meet the deadline could see it being declared in violation of the non-proliferation treaty and the matter being passed to the UN Security Council, which could impose sanctions as a result.