Sanctions debate

Iran has said that its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful purposes and denies that it is trying to build a nuclear weapon.

in depth
 

Timeline: Iran's nuclear  programme

  Video: Iranian view of nuclear standoff
  Video: Changing tack on uranium
  Inside Story: Sanctioning Iran
  Interview: Iran's nuclear ambitions 
  Fears grow over nuclear sites
  Q&A: Uranium enrichment
  Blog: A new focus

But the US and other nations have been pressing the UN Security Council to impose a fourth set of sanctions against Iran on the issue.

The UN Security Council has said it is considering the matter after Yukiya Amano, the chief of the the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said last month that he could not verify that all of Tehran's atomic activities were peaceful.

At a meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board in Vienna, the Austrian capital, in February, Amano said he could not "confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities".

Amano also accused Iran of failing to co-operate with the IAEA and said he wanted Tehran to clarify issues about its nuclear programme.

"We would like to have a discussion with Iran to clarify the outstanding issues and issues that have a possible military dimension," he said.

In October, Erdogan accused Western nations of hypocrisy in criticising Iran's uranium enrichment programme while remaining silent on Israel, which is believed to have an undeclared nuclear arsenal.

He made the remarks during a vist to Tehran where he held bilateral talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president.

Erdogan had told journalists travelling with him in Iran that the country's nuclear programme "is an energy project with peaceful, humanitarian purposes".

The same month he told The Guardian, a British newspaper, that Western powers were treating Iran unfairly and referred to Ahmadinejad as a "friend".