Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said the resolution did not meet the objectives of states negotiating with Tehran.

Lavrov, quoted by Interfax news agency, said the six countries involved in the talks were aiming to "eliminate the risks of sensitive technology falling into Iran's hands while the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] settles issues of interest to it, and to maintain vital channels of communication with Iran".

"And it seems to me that in this respect the proposed draft resolution clearly does not meet the tasks earlier agreed by the six," Lavrov was quoted as saying during a visit to northern Russia.

Sanctions proposal

Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the US have offered a package of incentives to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment activity.

The draft resolution proposed by European nations calls for a ban on the sale of missile and atomic technology to Iran and ending UN help for most of its nuclear power programmes.

Assistance to Iran by the IAEA would be limited to "medical or humanitarian purposes", according to the draft.

It has been submitted to Russia and China and diplomats from all six nations planned to meet on Thursday afternoon.

US officials say Washington wants to ensure that Russia's construction of a nuclear power station in Iran does not include a complete fuel cycle capable of use in weapons.

Russia is building a reactor at Bushehr in Iran, which says its nuclear programme is intended for peaceful purposes only.

Moscow has dismissed any suggestion that the plant could help Tehran produce nuclear bombs.