U.S. Disturbed by Iran Nuclear News

WASHINGTON -- An Iranian rocket launch and reports that Iran is testing an advanced centrifuge are "deeply disturbing" and strengthen the case for a third UN sanctions resolution against Tehran, a top U.S. official said Friday.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns made the comment as he sought to spur the UN Security Council to approve fresh sanctions on Iran for failing to suspend uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for nuclear weapons or power plants.

Burns' comments came on the same day that Iran's ambassador to Russia, Gholamreza Ansari, said his country had started building a second atomic power plant.

"Now we need to think about the fuel for it," he said, Itar-Tass reported.

Iran has been building its first nuclear power plant near the southern city of Bushehr, where Tehran says test operations could start later this year after final deliveries by Russia of nuclear fuel arrived at the plant last month.

On Monday, Iran launched a rocket designed to carry its first locally made research satellite, sparking concerns among some Western nations that it could also use the technology to develop ballistic missiles that would carry nuclear warheads.

On Wednesday, diplomats said Iran was testing an advanced centrifuge at its Natanz nuclear complex, a move that could lead to Tehran enriching uranium much faster and gaining the means to build atom bombs.

Burns said the United States had not itself verified the centrifuge report but, if true, "that would be a very, very serious concern" for the international community and would "give more impetus" to the push for the sanctions resolution.