VIENNA -- A senior U.S. envoy accused Iran of "deception, defiance and delay" yesterday in dealing with international concerns about its nuclear activities, reflecting frustration over that nation's expanding uranium enrichment program and stalled UN attempts to determine whether Tehran has worked secretly on atomic arms.

Joseph Macmanus, the chief U.S. delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency, also suggested that the United States might push for tougher diplomatic action in the coming months.

His comments indicated that America might lobby the IAEA board to ask for a special inspection of Parchin, a facility that the agency suspects was used to test explosive triggers for a nuclear weapon, or that the United States would seek an IAEA resolution critical of Tehran.

International criticism of Iran has been relatively muted since last week's nuclear talks in which it showed interest in proposals made by the United States and five other world powers. While expressing concern about enrichment and the deadlocked probe, the six powers avoided tough language and mentioned the "useful meetings" that produced the proposals in a joint statement Tuesday to the 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency board.

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By contrast, the comments yesterday to the same meeting by Macmanus were unusually hard-edged, suggesting they were meant to signal that pressure on Iran over its nuclear activities would not diminish.

Without having to pay heed to Russia and China, countries in the group that are traditionally softer on Iran, Macmanus concentrated on expressing the U.S. view of Iran's alleged failure to meet its international obligations. -- AP