( AP ) - Iran said Tuesday it does not expect new U.N. sanctions anytime soon over its nuclear program because it has Russian and Chinese support and is cooperating with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency.
Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee said last week's report from the International Atomic Energy Agency that found Tehran was generally truthful about aspects of its nuclear history was "a very positive one."
"I do not think that (in) the near future we are going to witness another resolution in the United Nations Security Council against Iran," he said. "The reason is that I think more than ever, the whole world today found out that the only and the best way to address the issue of Iranian nuclear peaceful energy program is the agency."
The United States, Britain and France, have been pressing for a new sanctions resolution to further pressure a defiant Iran to halt uranium enrichment, which it has refused to do despite numerous council demands. But veto-wielding China and Russia have repeatedly voiced opposition to a third round of sanctions.
Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in September that Tehran would ignore Security Council demands and sanctions imposed by "arrogant powers" to curb its nuclear program. Instead, he said, Iran had decided to pursue the monitoring of its nuclear program through the IAEA, the U.N.'s legal body dealing with nuclear issues.
Khazaee stressed that working with the IAEA is the way to resolve the dispute.
"The Russians and the Chinese, of course, are supporting the cooperation between IAEA and Iran and they think this is the right way to go at it," he said.
He warned that if the Security Council seeks a third sanctions resolution it would not only undermine the credibility of the IAEA but "would not encourage" Iran's continued work with the nuclear agency.
The IAEA also reported that it could not rule out that Iran had a secret weapons program because of restrictions Tehran placed on its inspectors two years ago. The IAEA also reported that Iran continued to defy the Security Council's demand to suspend uranium enrichment.
In Paris, meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday urged Europe not to side with the United States over Iran's nuclear program, dismissing as a "big lie" U.S. concerns that the Tehran is trying to develop an atomic bomb.
Chavez, a leftist firebrand and harsh critic of U.S. foreign policy, said the accusations against Iran were part of a U.S. plot to take over Iran's oil fields.
Chavez, who was in Iran Monday, met Tuesday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, a conservative who says Iran's nuclear program is a threat and supports a hard line against the country.
Chavez said Europe should be more worried about the possibility that the U.S. might attack Iran, adding that Iran would repel such aggression.
For more than two years, the Iranians have spurned European Union offers of material and technical expertise and cooperation on civil atomic power projects in return for freezing enrichment, a technology that can be used to create uranium fuel for power plants and the fissile material of nuclear warheads.
Iran maintains that its enrichment program is purely for peaceful purposes, to produce nuclear energy. But Western nations fear the enrichment activities are a pathway to Tehran's development of nuclear arms.
Even though the United States is pursuing new sanctions against Iran, Khazaee said Iran will attend new talks on Iraq's security with U.S. and Iraqi officials because improving Iraq's security is important for all countries in the region.
Asked whether bringing a new sanctions resolution to the Security Council would discourage Iran from cooperating with the U.S. on Iraq, he said, "we have to wait and see."