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China lends weight to Iran over nuclear issue

Tehran, Nov 6, IRNA -- China's Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing announced in Tehran on Saturday China's opposition to hauling Iran to the UN Security Council over its nuclear program, saying this would make the standoff more complicated.


Speaking at a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart Kamal Kharrazi, the Chinese minister described Tehran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as constructive and positive.

"My opinion on the issue is that referral of Iran's file to the Security Council will make it more complicated and will not help with its settlement," Li said, adding 'the right way is to solve the problem through dialogue and negotiations'.

Kharrazi added voice to his counterpart, saying, "China is opposed to referring Iran's file to the Security Council.

"Iran has had good cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency and all ambiguities have been removed; thus, there is no reason to send the file to the Security Council."


Li, however, left the world guessing when asked if Beijing would use its veto power against possible sanctions if Tehran was hauled to the council.

"Veto cannot be used excessively since there are special limits to that," he said.

"We must see if there is any ground for such a referral or who has the prerogative to do this," Li said, implicitly taking the United States to task for seeking to punch its views on the world body regarding Tehran's nuclear program.

A senior national security official, however, was under no illusion, saying it was unlikely Beijing would ever put Iran's nuclear issue ahead of China's trade ties with Washington.

"We would be mistaken if we thought China would ever stand up to the Americans and engage in an embroilment over Iran's nuclear activities," the daily Kayhan quoted head of the Supreme National Security Council's foreign policy committee, Hossein Mousavian, as saying in an interview.

Mousavian quoted an unnamed Chinese diplomat as having told him once that 'the volume of our trade transactions with the Americans is thousand times more than that with Iran'.

"Anyway, China has a set of definitions regarding its strategic interests in America and Europe and the latter have their own," he said.

... Payvand News - 11/6/04 ... --

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