China's Foreign Ministry has come out with criticism of the European Union's new oil embargo on Iran, saying the sanctions are "not constructive."
The comments, quoted by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, are similar to earlier criticism of the sanctions by Russia, which called the EU move unhelpful toward reaching a negotiated solution to the international dispute over the Iranian nuclear program.
Russia and China, both veto-holding members of the United Nations Security Council, have been resisting moves to impose another round of UN sanctions against Iran.
Four rounds of sanctions have already been imposed in an effort to curb Iran's nuclear activities.
The European Union on January 23 agreed on an embargo on Iranian oil, adding to recent U.S. sanctions aimed at pressuring Iran on the nuclear issue.
Iran denies Western allegations that its nuclear program is aimed toward the production of an atomic weapon.
The UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently suggested Tehran had carried out work "specific to nuclear weapons."
compiled from agency reports
Copyright (c) 2012 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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