The carbon layer formed during the bias enhanced nucleation (BEN) procedure on iridium has been studied by different electron diffraction techniques. In reflection high energy electron diffraction (RHEED) and low energy electron diffraction (LEED) the carbon nucleation layer does not give any indication of crystalline diamond even if the presence of domains proves successful nucleation. In contrast, X-ray photoelectron diffraction (XPD) shows a clear C 1s pattern when domains are present after BEN. The anisotropy in the Ir XPD patterns is reduced after BEN while the fine structure is essentially identical compared to a single crystal Ir film. The change in the Ir XPD patterns after BEN can be explained by the carbon layer on top of a crystallographically unmodified Ir film. The loss and change in the fine structure of the C 1s patterns as compared to a single crystal diamond film are discussed in terms of mosaicity and a defective structure of the ordered fraction within the carbon layer. The present results suggest that the real structure of the BEN layer is more complex than a pure composition of small but perfect diamond crystallites embedded in an amorphous matrix.