Diplomats from the US, Britain, France and Japan have complained to the head of the UN nuclear agency, the IAEA, about comments he made on Iran's nuclear programme.

The US State Department said the meeting with Mohammed ElBaradei came days after he said Iran might be allowed to continue some enrichment of uranium.

Mr ElBaradei said it might be too late to stop Iran entirely and the focus should be on preventing large-scale enrichment.

The UN Security Council has passed a resolution demanding that Iran suspends all enrichment activities.

But the diplomats said that the international consensus could be undermined by any suggestion of a change in policy by Mr ElBaradei.