Progress made on Iran sanctions: US

The US said it is engaging with China and Russia on issue for an early UN Security Council resolution against Iran.

New York: The US has claimed progress in imposing sanctions against Iran for its nuclear programme, saying it is engaging with China and Russia on the issue for an early UN Security Council resolution.

"We`ve had very constructive and cooperative working relationships with China and Russia," said Susan Rice, US`s envoy to the UN, adding, "I think we`re making progress."

The P5 and Germany have been meeting regularly in New York to draft a resolution that will impose a fourth round of sanctions against Iran for alleged violations of the NPT.

The US and other Western country suspect that Tehran is using its nuclear programme to make a bomb while Iran insists that its activities are peaceful.

"We`re working intensively and the pace of our efforts is driven by the urgency we attach to an early and meaningful Security Council resolution," Rice said, noting the US also maintained the right to impose sanctions unilaterally or bilaterally.

"The United States and every member state has the sovereign right to pass law that they deem necessary to implement their foreign policy," she told reporters.

Rice noted that Brazil`s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva`s forthcoming visit was "not impeding progress" and expressed hope that Silva would tell the Iranians that "pressure is mounting" and "Iran continues to have a choice" but if Iran does not make the right choices then the "pressure will intensify”.

After attending the NPT review conference nine days ago at the UN, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned that a fresh round of sanctions against his country will be more detrimental to the United States than Iran, and it will also close the door on improving relations between the two countries.

"This is nothing new. For 31 years, sanctions have been placed on us," Ahmadinejad told reporters. "We feel that and think that the US government will be damaged more than us by those sanctions.”

“It is very clear that if the United States starts sanctions against Iran it means that it is the end of Mr Obama’s efforts. It means that no change will occur," he added.

Ahmadinejad slammed Washington for hounding Tehran about its nuclear programme while not pushing Israel, to which he referred to as a "Zionist regime", for getting rid of its nuclear weapons. Israel does not confirm or deny having nuclear arsenal.

Speaking at the conference, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton responded by saying that Iran "cynically claimed to be abiding by the treaty while violating its safeguards, expanding its enrichment programme failing to cooperate with the IAEA and ignoring the injunctions of the Security Council."