Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell says he sees no need for military action against Iran, and that he expects the strong diplomatic efforts now under way will resolve the international dispute over Tehran's nuclear program.

In an interview broadcast in Japan (Fuji Television) on Saturday, Mr. Powell acknowledged that while military force remains an option, President Bush has made it clear that he wants a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

Mr. Powell says the international community "has come together" to emphasize that Iran should not engage in any work to develop nuclear weapons. He welcomed efforts by the European Union and said the United States will continue to work through the International Atomic Energy Agency on the Iranian issue.

Washington accuses Iran of covertly developing nuclear weapons under cover of a peaceful civilian atomic energy program.

The United States has sought support from Britain, France and Germany in its efforts to have the U.N. Security Council consider possible sanctions against Iran over the nuclear issue.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.