The UN atomic agency adopted on Monday a toned-down resolution on Iran's nuclear program after Tehran agreed to a total freeze on all enrichment activities.
El Baradei: Iran's enrichment suspension is now complete
The resolution, hammered out by France, Britain and Germany, was a painstaking compromise between US hardline demands to crack down on what Washington says is a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program and Iranian threats to stop cooperating.
It was adopted by consensus by the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 35-nation board of governors meeting in Vienna, IAEA spokesman Mark Gwozdecky told reporters.
"This is clearly a first step in the right direction. It will help mitigate international concern about the nature of Iran's program and over time should help to build confidence with regard to Iran's nuclear programme," IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei said.
US: Security Council still an option
But the head of the US team at the world's nuclear body said Washington still did not rule out taking Iran to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions.
"The United States reserves all its options with respect to Security Council consideration of the Iranian nuclear weapons program," said Jackie Sanders. "We believe Iran's nuclear weapons program poses a growing threat to international peace and security, and to the global non-proliferation regime."
British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged he would "hold Iran to account" over its promises to halt its uranium enrichment program.
"Our task has been to get the undertakings from Iran, but to recognise that in the end we will have to make sure (we use) the right authority -- in this case the Atomic Energy Authority -- then make sure the undertakings they have given are actually adhered to," Blair said.
But Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said his country would press on with its nuclear programme and was not afraid of pressure from the US.
"The people and the officials are not scared of the political threats made by the powers in the service of oppression," Khamenei was quoted as saying by state television in Tehran.
"Iran will never stop its nuclear programme, that is our red line," he said.
IAEA to continue investigations
The adoption of the resolution ended a roller-coaster week of back-door talks when Iran's demand to exempt 20 centrifuges had threatened to torpedo the agreement reached earlier this month with the three European countries.
But Iran backed off on its demand and the resolution did not demand that the Islamic Republic be taken to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions, as the US had wanted.
The IAEA is continuing to investigate Iran as ElBaradei has said that while no diversion of nuclear materials for weapons purposes has been detected, he could not rule out that there might be covert activity.