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Peaceful resolution of Iran nuclear case urged
Updated: 2006-01-17 20:35

China urged Iran and the West on Tuesday to revive negotiations over Tehran's nuclear programme, but deflected questions about how Beijing will deal with moves to take the crisis before the U.N. Security Council.

Peaceful resolution of Iran nuclear case urged
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attends an official welcoming ceremony for Tajikistan's President Imomali Rakhmonov in Tehran, January 17, 2006. [Reuters]
"The Chinese government believes that peacefully resolving the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations is a good option under current circumstances and is in the interests of all parties," a spokesman for China's foreign ministry, Kong Quan, told reporters in Beijing at a regular briefing.

Western countries have said they believe Iran is using an ostensibly civilian nuclear programme to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran insists its intentions are peaceful and has said it will proceed with nuclear activities.

China's ambassador the United Nations, Wang Guangya, made a more pointed call in New York on Friday, saying that taking Tehran to the Security Council "might complicate the issue".

China is one of the permanent members of the Security Council that can wield a veto over any proposals. The others are the United States, France, Britain and Russia.

Kong, the spokesman, said Wang's comments did not differ from China's official position, but did not directly address questions about whether China will reject any attempt by the United States or European Union to refer Iran to the Security Council.

The EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said on Monday he was confident China and Russia will support the European Union if it takes Iran to the Security Council.

But Kong instead repeated earlier statements that China's preferred course is for Iran to resume talks with Britain, Germany and France -- known as the "EU3." The European countries scrapped those talks last week.

"So we think the most urgent thing for all the parties now is still to keep patient and make utmost efforts to resume the negotiations between the EU3 and Iran. I think Ambassador Wang's remark doesn't differ much with the Chinese government's consistent stance."

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