UNITED NATIONS - The new US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said Monday that the Obama administration will make Iran's nuclear plans a diplomatic priority and pursue direct talks with the Islamic Republic. Rice told reporters after presenting credentials to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that she looked forward to "vigorous diplomacy that includes direct diplomacy with Iran". Under former President George W Bush, there were no direct US nuclear talks with Iran. The UN has urged Tehran to halt uranium enrichment, amid Western fears it could be used for military purposes. Iran says its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful. In the run-up to his inauguration last week, President Barack Obama promised a "new approach" in the dispute. Last month he called for "tough but direct diplomacy", offering Iran economic incentives to end its nuclear programme or face tougher sanctions. Iran dismissed the move as "unacceptable". "We will look at what is necessary and appropriate with respect to maintaining pressure toward that goal of ending Iran's nuclear programme," Rice, who replaced Afghan-born Zalmay Khalilzad, added. "Dialogue and diplomacy must go hand in hand with a very firm message from the United States and the international community that Iran needs to meet its obligations as defined by the Security Council and its continued refusal to do so will only cause pressure to increase," Ms. Rice added. The five permanent members of the Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany have offered Tehran a set of economic and energy incentives in exchange for suspending uranium enrichment program which the West sees as a cover for seeking to build nuclear weapons. The Security Council has already adopted four resolutions - three of which included sanctions - requiring Iran to suspend uranium enrichment. Rice, who was the top foreign policy adviser to Obama during the presidential election campaign, said she had "good, excellent" meeting with the UN chief that lasted 45 minutes. She said she discussed a wide range of issues- Climate Change, the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and other challenges facing the United Nations, including non-proliferation, the Middle East, and Sudan. At the outset, Rice said she was honoured to represent the United States at the United Nations, describing it as a "vitally important institution." She said she would promote U.S. goals - some of which were also U.N. objectives - in "cooperation and partnership" with other nations. In doing so, Rice said she was would "engage and listen" to her counterparts at the U.N.