Discussing Iran sanctions hinders diplomacy: China
Paris: Discussions amongst world powers over imposing possible sanctions on Iran will complicate the situation and might make it harder to find a diplomatic solution, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Thursday.
Speaking to reporters during a visit to France, Yang said he wanted to see more direct talks between Iran and the international community over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Western powers are pushing for a fourth round of UN sanctions against Iran to try to force it to enter into negotiate over its nuclear ambitions.
However, China, which buys a lot of oil from Iran, appears unwilling to slap more restrictions on Tehran, complicating the chances of getting a broad agreement within the United Nations Security Council.
"To talk about sanctions at the moment will complicate the situation and might stand in the way of finding a diplomatic solution," Yang said.
Western governments fear that Iran wants to produce nuclear weapons. Tehran says its atomic programme is purely for peaceful purposes, but is restricting inspections of its sites by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
"China firmly supports the international nuclear non proliferation regime. All countries, Iran included if they obey by IAEA rules, have a right to a peaceful use of nuclear energy," Yang said.
The so-called "P5+1" group -- the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China -- have been trying to engage with Iran for years over its nuclear project, but Western diplomats say they have made virtually no progress.