It also urges Iran to meet the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors.

Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, said the resolution aimed, not to impose new sanctions against Tehran, but rather to show unity after disagreements with Russia over its invasion of Georgia.

"It's also especially important that the Iranians recognise that the P5 plus one process is intact," Rice told Reuters in an interview, referring to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the UK, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany.

The P5 plus one powers are seeking to persuade Iran to halt its suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon.

The United States and Europeans had wanted a fourth round of sanctions on Iran, which refuses to halt nuclear enrichment work.

China and Russia oppose further sanctions.

Miliband said the text "reaffirms existing resolutions that are on the UN books."

Although the draft resolution has no new penalties, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, told reporters that the text "does not rule them out either".

Integral player

The meeting on Iran was originally scheduled for Thursday, but it was postponed after Russia withdrew to protest US criticism of its invasion of Georgia.

Rice told the Security Council she wanted to take up threats made by Ahmadinejad [AFP]

Russian diplomats said Moscow was letting the West know it could not be sidelined on issues like Iran where it is a key player.

Separately, Rice told the Security Council that she wants it to take up threats against Israel made by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president.

Rice said his comments that the Jewish state "should be wiped from the face of the map, should be destroyed and should not exist" were unacceptable.

Tehran insists its nuclear programme aims to produce electricity and refuses to halt its enrichment programme.

In a defiant speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Ahmadinejad vowed to resist US "bullying".

Miliband said the UN nuclear watchdog had failed to get sufficient co-operation from Tehran in its investigation of allegations that Iran conducted research on an atomic weapon.

In June, the six powers gave Iran a beefed-up offer of political and economic incentives, including nuclear reactors, in exchange for a suspension of its enrichment programme.

Tehran says enrichment is a sovereign right it will never renounce.

Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, said on Friday it was not the time to consider any new sanctions on Iran.

   

We "continue to believe that it is not timely to consider at the ministerial or at any other level this proposal of new sanctions," Lavrov told a news conference at the United Nations.