U.S., France agree on new sanctions against Iran: Rice

The United States and France agree on how to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice andFrench Foreign Minister BernardKouchner spoke Friday of a common front against Iran's nuclear programthatincluded support for new sanctions against Tehran.

Duringa joint press conference with Kouchnerin Washington, Rice saidthe United States and France agree on how to pressure Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

"I think that there's, essentially, no difference in the way that we see the situation in Iran and what the international community must do," Rice told reporters.

The two countries weredoing groundwork fora new UN Security Council resolution at a meeting in Washington on Friday of political directors from six major nations that have been trying to negotiate with Iran — Russia, China, Britain and Germany, as well as France and the United States.

The French government underPresident Nicolas Sarkozyhasshifted the country's policiesmore in line with theadministration of U.S. President George W. Bush, who had afrosty relationship with Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, highlightedby France's vocal criticism of the Iraq war.

Ina candidinterview on French radio last week, Kouchner re-enforcedFrance's toughstance on Iranby declaring his country should prepare for war if Iran obtains nuclear weapons.

DespiteFriday's talk of a unified approach on curbing Iran, Kouchner acknowledged politely that some differences between theU.S and Franceremain.

"Having good relations doesn't mean that we are in complete agreement every day, everywhere," he said. "But we have excellent relations."

Asked what kind of sanctions the United States would like to see approved by the Security Council, Rice was vague.

"We have explored and have used various freezes on assets of individuals. We have used visa bans," she said. "I think that there are any number of ways that we can expand those efforts."

With files from the Associated Press