Ali Ashghar Soltanieh said at a conference in Brussels on 2 October that an agreement on fuel supply with IAEA member states would be the first step towards Iran giving up its enrichment activities.

“We are going to continue as long as there is no legally binding internationally recognised instrument for assurance of supply,” said Soltanieh.

However, he added that the country will retain contingency fuel reserves in case supply was disrupted.

Iran claims it is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes. The US has accused Tehran of using the power programme to disguise its efforts to develop nuclear weapons.