China says still room for Iran nuclear talks

China has called for more talks to resolve the Iranian nuke standoff, after Medvedev said Moscow was ready to consider new sanctions against Tehran.

Beijing: China on Tuesday called for more talks to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff, after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow was ready to consider new sanctions against Tehran.
"We believe there is still room for diplomatic efforts and parties concerned should step up efforts," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters, when asked to comment on Medvedev`s statement.

Iran`s atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi Tuesday accused the new head of the UN atomic watchdog of bias and said he hoped the Japanese official would change his approach towards Tehran`s atomic programme.

"We expected Mr (Yukiya) Amano to examine and adopt a position about the nuclear issue in an unbiased way, but unfortunately and in contradiction with what he had said before, we did not see an unbiased position," Salehi told when asked to react to Amano remarks at the UN atomic body meeting on Monday.

"We hope that he will change his approach."

Amano, who took over as the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on December 1, said in an address to the agency`s board in Vienna that Iran is still not giving sufficient information on its nuclear activities.

"We cannot confirm that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities because Iran has not provided the agency with the necessary cooperation," Amano said. He later clarified at a press conference that Tehran was cooperating, "but there are areas where we don`t have cooperation and (where) we need cooperation."

Around two weeks before the meeting, Amano had circulated a report to IAEA member states regarding Iran`s atomic programme which was seen as using tougher language than his predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei.

In the report Amano expressed concern that Tehran may be working on a nuclear warhead and also confirmed that Iran has started enriching uranium to higher levels, theoretically bringing it close to levels needed for an atomic bomb.

Iran`s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had responded to the report by accusing the IAEA of lacking independence and being "influenced by the United States."

Bureau Report