Moscow: There is no military component in Iran's nuclear programme, Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister has said. Western powers and Israel suspect Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons. Iran denies this, saying its programme is civilian in nature. Speculation has been building that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

“We have verified data showing that there is no reliable evidence for the existence of a military component. There is no proof of a military component in Iran's nuclear programme,” Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday.

He said it was essential to “clear all the remaining doubts through negotiations.”

It was also important for Iran to closely cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he said.

The IAEA said in a report released in November that Iran continued nuclear weapons research and technology development after 2003, even after it declared a halt in its nuclear programme.

The report said Iran had temporarily frozen nuclear activities, but that there was evidence the programme continued to be carried out at a more modest pace.

Iranian officials slammed the report as a distortion of facts aimed at satisfying US political interests.

IAEA chief Yukiya Amano has urged Iran to provide the requested clarifications regarding possible military dimensions to its nuclear programme.