Iran yesterday vowed to expand - not suspend - uranium enrichment activities in defiance of a UN Security Council resolution giving the Islamic Republic until August 31 to halt nuclear activities or face the threat of political and economic sanctions.

Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani called the UN Security Council resolution issued last week "illegal" and said Iran won't respect the deadline.

"We reject this resolution," he said.

"We will expand nuclear activities where required. It includes all nuclear technology, including the string of centrifuges," Larijani said, referring to the centrifuges Iran uses to enrich uranium.

He said Iran had not violated any of its obligations under the Nuclear Non Proliferation treaty, and that the UN had not right to require it suspends enrichment.

"We won't accept any suspension," said Mr Larijani.

Russia had urged Iran to respect the deadline.