( dpa )- Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeid Jalili departed Tehran Thursday for Beijing to meet with Chinese officials ahead of next week's scheduled meeting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
Jalili will brief Chinese officials of the latest developments in the nuclear dispute, Fars news agency reported.
Germany has invited the foreign ministers of the UN Security Council member states to talks in Berlin on January 22 to seek a third resolution to punish Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment.
Germany, which has joined the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France in attempts to pressure Tehran to comply with two previous Security Council resolutions, regards a new resolution as necessary, Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Jaeger said Wednesday.
The United States, Britain and France have backed other resolutions, but have faced resistance from China and Russia, two countries with close economic ties to Iran.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is to travel to Vienna Thursday for talks with Mohamed ElBaradei, secretary general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who visited Tehran earlier this month.
Iran and the IAEA aim to clear up outstanding questions on Iran's uranium enrichment programme by mid-February and, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini, would continue its cooperation with the IAEA within an "action plan" regardless of political moves by the West.
The Islamic state insists it is enriching uranium for civilian energy needs and refutes concerns it could use the process to develop nuclear weapons.