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US Official: New Iran Sanctions Resolution Will be 'Punitive'


A senior U.S. official says a new U.N. sanctions resolution aimed at pressuring Iran to curb its sensitive nuclear activities will be "punitive," despite Russian remarks to the contrary.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns says the resolution will ban travel by certain Iranian officials, limit the export of some items, and freeze Iranian assets. He says that in some cases, the measure strengthens existing sanctions on Iran.

Burns was responding Thursday to comments by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the resolution does not call for any tough sanctions.

The U.S. official spoke as diplomats from Germany and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members - the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China - met to discuss the resolution in New York. The six world powers agreed on the content of the measure earlier this week.

The Security Council already has imposed two sets of sanctions on Iran for its failure to suspend uranium enrichment - a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons

In other news, Iranian state media say Russia has delivered a sixth shipment of nuclear fuel to Iran's first atomic power plant at Bushehr. Iran's state news agency (IRNA) says 66 of an expected 82 tons of fuel have now been shipped to the Bushehr plant in southern Iran.

Russia is finishing construction of the Bushehr reactor. Iranian officials say they plan to start running the facility around mid-2008.

The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of developing technology to produce nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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