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US Says Iran Sanctions Effort Must Continue

The United States says efforts by Brazil and Turkey to craft a uranium fuel swap deal with Tehran must not impede a draft resolution for a fourth round of U.N. sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

Senior U.S. officials said Friday the Brazilian-Turkish deal does nothing to address core international concerns that Iran's nuclear program is designed to produce weapons.

Officials say the May 17 agreement fails to stop Iran from continuing to enrich uranium as it is obliged to do under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and three prior U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Iran said last week it will continue production of 20 percent enriched uranium even after signing the fuel swap deal.

Earlier Friday, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said he believes major powers are "positively" considering Iran's nuclear fuel plan.

The foreign minister spoke at an economic forum in Bulgaria, a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized Brazil's efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff with Tehran.

Mottaki said it is his understanding that the United States, France and Russia are favorably reviewing the deal, which calls for Iran to send 1,200 kilograms of low-enriched uranium to Turkey in exchange for higher-grade fuel.

Earlier this week, Iran submitted a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency outlining the plan.

Clinton said Brazil's efforts to resolve the dispute could make the world "more dangerous." She said U.S. officials have told Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva that "buying time" for Iran could help Tehran avoid international unity concerning its nuclear program.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said nations that have been critical of Iran's nuclear exchange plan should eliminate their own nuclear stockpiles.

The Turkish leader is at a U.N. conference in Brazil. Speaking earlier about the nuclear-fuel deal that his country helped negotiate with Iran, Mr. Erdogan said those who criticize the proposal are jealous of Turkey and Brazil's diplomatic accomplishments.

Iran insists its nuclear program has only for peaceful purposes. Western powers have accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia - have approved a draft resolution for a fourth round of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

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