China warns Iran sanctions will derail diplomacy
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Last Updated: Thursday, February 04, 2010, 22:10
Paris: Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi warned on Thursday that threatening more sanctions against Iran will derail diplomatic efforts to resolve the dispute over Tehran's nuclear programme.

"This talk of sanctions at this moment will complicate the situation and stand in the way of finding a diplomatic solution," Yang told a gathering at a French think-tank.

China, a member of the UN Security Council, has called for more dialogue with Tehran, clashing with France and the United States which are seeking to move toward sanctions.

Yang was due to meet President Nicolas Sarkozy later Thursday for talks that were expected to touch on calls for tightening sanctions on Iran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium.

The United States and its Western allies fear Iran is using an uranium enrichment drive to to secretly develop fissile material for nuclear weapons. Iran says it only wants to produce fuel for a peaceful nuclear energy programme.

Yang argued that Iran had not "totally shut the door" to efforts by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to negotiate a deal that would address concerns about its enrichment programme.

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Wednesday he would ask the United Nations to adopt a new resolution against Iran that would include "strong sanctions".

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates also said Iran faces the prospect of "severe sanctions" from the UN Security Council and also directly from Western countries.


First Published: Thursday, February 04, 2010, 22:10

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