Washington Iran has defied a U.N. demand to suspend its uranium-enrichment program and has failed to fully cooperate with international inspectors, the U.N. nuclear-watchdog agency reported Friday.
The report set the stage for a clash between Iran and the U.N. Security Council, and among members of the council on how to end the crisis. The Bush administration said it wanted to work through the council but it's raised the possibility of working outside it to impose punitive measures against Iran.
Diplomats from the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France - the veto-wielding Security Council members - and Germany planned to meet Tuesday in Paris to try to work out a common strategy.
Iran said it was working with the International Atomic Energy Agency, but also indicated that it might quit cooperating if the Security Council tries to rein it in.
The United States will push for a Security Council resolution that could be enforced by economic sanctions or military action, said John Bolton, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
The United States would back "targeted sanctions," such as restricting the travel of certain Iranian officials or trade in equipment that could be used for civilian or military purposes, Bolton said. Some measures could be taken outside the Security Council, he said.
China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya, called for diplomacy and said talk of sanctions and military measures was counterproductive.
Russia also has objected to sanctions. Russia needed time to form its position, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said Friday.
The 15-nation Security Council called on Iran in a nonbinding statement March 28 to suspend its uranium-enrichment work and answer outstanding questions about its nuclear program.
Instead, Iran announced it had enriched uranium to a level sufficient for running a nuclear power station.
The United States and some of its European allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of its energy program. Iran denies it.