Fri, Jan 27, 2006 - Page 1 News List

China sides with Russia over Iran


China opposes sanctions against Iran's nuclear ambitions and urges countries to consider a Russian compromise, a Chinese spokesman said yesterday, as Tehran's nuclear negotiator held talks in Beijing.

"We oppose impulsively using sanctions or threats of sanctions to solve problems. This will complicate problems," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan (孔泉) told a news conference.

In Moscow on Wednesday, Iranian negotiator Ali Larijani said referring Iran's nuclear activities to the UN Security Council would prompt Tehran to start uranium enrichment.

But he also signaled interest in a Russian proposal to enrich Iranian uranium on Russian soil -- a compromise backers say would give Iran nuclear power but restrain any moves to make weapons.

Kong said Russia's offer should be seriously considered.

"We think the Russian proposal is a good attempt to break this stalemate," he said.

China yesterday urged all parties involved in the dispute to step up diplomatic efforts as Larijani underscored the country's close ties with Beijing.

"We agreed members of the [Non-Proliferation Treaty] have right [sic] to peaceful nuclear energy," Larijani told reporters after meetings with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (李肇星) and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan (唐家璇).

In turn, Tang told Larijani that all "parties concerned should step up diplomatic efforts to create favorable conditions for the resumption of talks on the Iranian nuclear issue," Xinhua news agency said.

Earlier this month, Iran removed UN seals on uranium enrichment equipment and resumed nuclear fuel research. It says it does not want nuclear weapons, and has the right to enrich uranium at home.

The US and its EU allies, who fear Iran might move to developing nuclear weapons, say the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should turn Iran over to the UN Security Council.

Russia and China have urged other solutions to the standoff.

The council's veto-wielding permanent members plan to meet in London on Monday to try to resolve differences over what to do about Iran.

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