Moscow "does not see any basis for transferring the question, which the IAEA is dealing with actively and productively, to the Security Council," the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said that IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei's report on the Iranian programme, issued last week, "creates a good basis for continuing professional and depoliticized work in the framework of the IAEA on the soonest regulation of this problem".

Security Council member China also opposes bringing Iran before the council and could use its veto power to block any resolution to punish Iran.

Britain, Germany and France, negotiating on behalf of the 25-nation European Union, have said they may get involved in drafting the language of a resolution demanding Iran be referred to the Security Council if Tehran does not stop uranium conversion in Isfahan by a meeting of IAEA, the UN nuclear watchdog, on 19 September.