VIENNA (AFP) - Iran angrily stayed away Monday from a UN atomic agency forum on creating a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, amid growing tensions over Tehran's suspected efforts to develop the bomb. Iran's ambassador to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali Asghar Soltanieh said Tehran's decision was its "first reaction" to the body's "inappropriate" recent report on its nuclear programme. That assessment saw the IAEA come the closest yet to accusing Iran outright of seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Iran, hit by four rounds of UN sanctions, says its activities are exclusively for peaceful purposes.