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China Signals Resistance to Iran Sanctions, Seeks Further Talks

Iran Materials 22 December 2009 10:44 (UTC +04:00)
China signaled resistance to any U.S. and European push for tougher United Nations sanctions on Iran, saying talks aimed at preventing its development of nuclear weapons should be given a chance to succeed.
China Signals Resistance to Iran Sanctions, Seeks Further Talks

China signaled resistance to any U.S. and European push for tougher United Nations sanctions on Iran, saying talks aimed at preventing its development of nuclear weapons should be given a chance to succeed, Bloomberg reported.

"We ask for more time to be given and efforts to be made to see if we can reach some sort of breakthrough," La Yifan, China's envoy for Security Council and political affairs at the UN, said in an interview yesterday. "The door to diplomatic efforts is not completely slammed yet. Efforts should focus on trying to find a solution to the current impasse."

La's stance reflects the difficulty the U.S., Britain, France and Germany will have in pursuing tougher UN sanctions on Iran next month. The Obama administration set a Dec. 31 deadline for progress on the diplomatic track, and France's ambassador to the UN said earlier this month that there was no longer any reason to delay a push for sanctions.

The U.S. and its European partners suspect Iran's uranium enrichment work is part of the development of a nuclear weapons capability.

China holds one of the five permanent seats on the 15- nation Security Council, along with the U.S., France, Britain and Russia. Those veto-wielding members and Germany, which have been trying to convince Iran to scale back its nuclear program, offered at an October meeting in Geneva to enrich uranium Iran needs for a reactor that makes medical isotopes.

The Iranian government has never given a formal reply to the proposal, which the U.S. has portrayed as a confidence- building measure. Iran insists its enrichment program is only intended for civilian energy projects.

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