China says backs EU plan on Iran stand-off

(Reuters) - China said on Tuesday it backed a European plan to resolve the Iranian nuclear stand-off and urged Iran to respond positively while Russia insisted the threat of force on Tehran was not an option.

The European Union plans to offer Tehran enhanced incentives to halt sensitive nuclear activities that the West suspects are aimed at producing a bomb, coupled with a U.N. resolution threatening possible sanctions if it refuses, reports Trend.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Monday the European Union was ready to share the most sophisticated civilian nuclear technology with Iran if it agreed to halt uranium enrichment on its soil.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao suggested that Iran should react positively to the European proposal. He said all sides need to make "active efforts" to restart negotiations.

But he also said the European plan could be improved to satisfy the goals of both sides in the standoff.

"We also hope that the EU side will improve and propose a package plan that will both promote the goal of non-proliferation and take into account the reasonable concerns of Iran," he said.

Iran reiterated on Monday that it would reject any European proposal that demanded it halt uranium enrichment. Iran has said enrichment is a national right and has refused to comply with U.N. demands to halt the work.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, visiting Beijing, said negotiation was the key to solving the stand-off and added that neither Moscow nor Beijing would support a U.N. resolution that was an "excuse" for force.

"Russia has always advocated using political and diplomatic efforts to solve the nuclear issues of Iran and the Korean peninsula," Lavrov said after meeting Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

"Nobody should threaten these countries or use military force ... Russia and China will not vote for any resolution that is an excuse for the use of force."

The United States and its European allies are seeking a resolution that would oblige Iran to stop enrichment but are facing Russian and Chinese objections.
"This problem must be resolved by talks," Lavrov said. "We should not isolate Iran nor put pressure on Iran."

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