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US Seeking Immediate Sanctions Against Iran

A senior U.S. official says Washington is seeking immediate U.N. sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program, now that North Korea's apparent nuclear test has rallied support for such penalties.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told the privately-funded Council on Foreign Relations in New York Wednesday, there is no alternative but sanctions against Iran, following Tehran's rejection of a U.S.-European diplomatic initiative to resolve the dispute.

Burns said the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, the United States, Britain, Russia, France and China plus Germany, have reached broad agreement on an Iran sanctions resolution, although specific details of the sanctions are still being worked out.

Diplomats from the six countries and European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana discussed the Iranian nuclear issue Wednesday by video conference.

Iran's president said Wednesday his country is being "bullied" by some world powers, but did not name any country. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said the U.N. Security Council has no right to interfere in Iran's nuclear program.

Iran ignored an August 31 U.N. deadline to stop enriching uranium or face possible Security Council sanctions. Two members of the council -- Russia and China -- have expressed reluctance to impose sanctions on Iran.

Western nations allege Iran is working on a nuclear-weapons program -- a charge Tehran denies.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP