The report comes weeks after Iran agreed to sign a new protocol giving IAEA officials extra powers to carry out short-notice intrusive inspections. Tehran also said it would suspend all uranium enrichment programmes and give the IAEA comprehensive information about all its nuclear activities. The IAEA report is based on the dossier Iran submitted and on evidence collected by its inspectors on their most recent visits to the country.

The report says Iran has consistently misled the international community over the scope of its nuclear programme. It reveals the country has developed the capability to produce enriched plutonium – often used as the key ingredient for a nuclear bomb. Iran maintains its fuel enrichment programme is designed to give it energy self-sufficiency.

However, US arms control official John Bolton said the IAEA declaration was impossible to believe. He said Iran’s history of deception coupled with the production of enriched fuel pointed towards a nuclear weapons programme. Iran accuses the US of trying to manipulate the inspections procedure to carry out military espionage.