Making the Middle East an enrichment-free zone would be in the interests of both Iran and Israel, Blix said on Monday on the sidelines of a month-long meeting of the 188 signatories of the 1970 nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.

"Israel is extremely interested in having Iran refrain from moving on" to resuming enrichment activities, Blix said.

"I'm surprised the idea has not come up before."

Such a move would also reassure Iran without affecting any existing Israeli nuclear weapons, he said.

While Israel neither admits nor denies having atomic arms, it is estimated to have about 200 nuclear warheads.

But to help seal the deal, Blix also encouraged Washington to offer security guarantees to Tehran as a further incentive for it to give up its nuclear ambitions.