The U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency says he is hopeful that Russia and China will cooperate with the U.S. effort to bring the issue of Iran's nuclear program to the U.N. Security Council.

The United States already has the support of the European Union's three biggest powers, Britain, France and Germany, in wanting the Security Council to consider imposing sanctions on Iran because of its resumption of nuclear research. In his remarks Thursday, the new U.S. ambassador to the IAEA, Gregory Schulte, said he is hoping to get support from the IAEA, as well as other members of the international community, including China and Russia.

"Russia has a crucial role to play and it has been playing a crucial role and China also has a very important role to play too. And that's not just because they are permanent members of the Security Council. It's also because they have their own relationships with Iran which come into play here and I can tell you that both the Russians and Chinese have been pressing strongly on Tehran to stop the activities that they are conducting," he said.

On February 2, the 35 member IAEA board of governors is scheduled to hold a special closed door session to hear the case for referring Iran to the Security Council.

The session was called after Tehran broke a two-year moratorium on nuclear research earlier this month.

The United States accuses Iran of using its research to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran says its nuclear intentions are peaceful.