Ashton: Sanctions for sake of Iran talks
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton says sanctions imposed against Iran "support" efforts to resolve its nuclear standoff through dialogue, Press TV reported.
Since June, the UN Security Council, the United States and the European Union have imposed sanctions against Iran.
"The solution is through dialogue, but the sanctions are designed to support that by helping to put the right kind of pressure on Iran to come and have that dialogue. China has a significant role to play in that," Ashton said following a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Beijing on Thursday.
"I explained to Minister Yang the significance of having a cohesive approach towards Iran," Ashton told reporters.
The remarks come amid Western concerns that China - Iran's largest trade partner - could single-handedly render Iran sanction ineffective, particularity in the energy rich country's oil and gas sector.
While China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, conceded to the UNSC sanctions resolution following agreements with Washington, it has joined Russia in slamming the US and EU for imposing further unilateral measures.
Iranian officials reject the Western charges, arguing that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran has the right to a civilian nuclear program.
On August 21, Tehran launched its first nuclear power plant in the southern city of Bushehr. The US has acknowledged that the facility, built and fueled with Russian assistance, does not pose any "proliferation risks".
The new round of nuclear negotiations over fuel previsions for Tehran's medical research reactor is set to begin in mid-September.
Iran says the talks must focus on a May 17 nuclear fuel swap declaration it signed with Turkey and Brazil amid efforts to resolve the standoff through diplomacy.
The Tehran declaration outlines Iran's readiness to swap 1,200 kg of its low-enriched uranium on Turkish soil for nuclear fuel.