China has betrayed one its closest allies by providing the United Nations with intelligence on Iran's efforts to acquire nuclear technology, diplomats have revealed.
Concern over Tehran's secretive research programme has increased in recent weeks after officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear watchdog, discovered that Iran had obtained information on how to manufacture nuclear-armed weapons.
Beijing is believed to have decided to assist the inspectors after documents seized from Iranian officials included blueprints for "shaping" uranium metal into warheads, the testing of high explosives used to detonate radioactive material and the procurement of dual-use technology.
Much of the new material was presented to the governors of the Vienna-based IAEA in February. That meeting is said to have triggered China's change of heart.
China caught "red handed"? teh