WASHINGTON - Unable to break Irans will with a series of punitive measures, the US is pushing to revive a failed deal for Tehran to send some of its nuclear stockpile overseas in exchange for assistance with peaceful nuclear technology, a major American newspaper reported Thursday. Citing senior US officials, The Wall Street Journal said that the aim of the move was to try to reduce Irans ability to quickly produce an atomic weapon. Washington and other Western capitals are hoping Tehran will return to the negotiating table because they believe a fresh round of international economic sanctions against Iran, put in place after the previous fuel-swap deal fell apart last year, has begun to bite hard, according to the Journal. The US is accelerating its efforts to present Iran with a new offer as part of broader talks on Irans nuclear programme planned for Vienna next month, the newspaper said. On Tuesday, Tehran began loading Russian-supplied fuel rods into the core of its Bushehr nuclear plant. Iranian officials said they hoped the Bushehr plant, which the US had lobbied Russia to delay, could begin producing power in two to three months. Tehran insists its nuclear intentions are peaceful, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has remained defied international pressures to stop enriching uranium. US officials have been talking with allies about ways to expand the original fuel-swap deal to remove more of the stockpile, because Iran has been enriching more uranium since the previous talks broke down, the Journal said. Instead of 1,200 kilograms discussed then, Iran would need to agree to release or secure at least 50 percent more, or 1,800 kilograms, to stay below bomb-making levels, according to nuclear experts. One idea the US raised would send some of the stockpile overseas for eventual use in the Bushehr plant. But France rejected that idea because it risked legitimising Irans right to produce nuclear fuel, which the UN Security Council has opposed, spurring the sanctions. We have to keep a focus on whether were going to increase or diminish the pressure on Iran, an unnamed European official told the newspaper. Since the sanctions took effect, scores of international corporations and banks have severed their business ties to Iran, and Iranian businesses have said theyve faced shortages of fuel and foreign exchange. Still, Western diplomats dont know what reception Tehran would give a new fuel-swap plan.