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Iran Nuke Negotiator Visits China Amid Talk Of New Sanctions

Source: RFE/RL

Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Said Jalili, is visiting Beijing for talks with Chinese officials about the Iranian nuclear issue.

Jalili's visit follows announcements that China has apparently agreed to take part in serious negotiations with Western powers and Russia about a potential new round of United Nations sanctions against Iran over its nuclear activities.

The UN Security Council has already passed three rounds of targeted sanctions.

Western critics accuse Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons or at least the capability to produce them. Iran says its nuclear aims are purely civilian and that it is not pursuing nuclear weapons.

China, a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, has the power to block any new resolution and has previously been reluctant to back new steps against Iran.

But Western officials have said Beijing now appears ready to engage in negotiations on a possible fourth round of sanctions against Iran following Tehran's rejection of a UN-backed nuclear fuel deal that would have moved Iran's stocks of enriched uranium abroad for processing.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said the six world powers leading efforts to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions -- permanent Security Council members Britain, France, Russia, China, and the United States plus Germany -- are "unified" toward talks on a possible new round of sanctions.

Clinton was speaking on March 31 after officials said the so-called P5+1 had held a conference call to discuss launching consultations on a draft for a new sanctions resolution targeting Iran.

compiled from agency reports

Copyright (c) 2010 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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