Vienna - The UN nuclear watchdog said on Tuesday a planned meeting with Iran next week to discuss steps meant to help allay concern over its nuclear programme had been postponed to February 8, without giving a reason.

The talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are separate from - though still closely linked with - broader diplomacy between Tehran and six world powers over Iran's disputed nuclear activity.

In November, Iran and the IAEA agreed a cooperation pact, including six initial steps to be taken by the country over the following three months, including access to two nuclear-related facilities and the provision of information.

They said after a review meeting last month they would meet again in Tehran on January 21 to discuss the next steps under the framework agreement. An IAEA spokeswoman confirmed in an e-mail a report that the date of the meeting had been changed.

The IAEA wants Iran to address allegations that it has researched how to develop nuclear bombs, a charge Iran denies. Tehran says the nuclear programme is entirely peaceful.

Separately, Iran and the six powers - the United States, France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia - said on Sunday the implementation of a November 24 landmark agreement to curb Tehran's atomic activity in return for some sanctions easing would begin on Jan. 20. The IAEA will play a major role in verifying that Iran implements its part of the deal. - Reuters