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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will visit China on Friday, as Western nations are hoping the UN Security Council will soon impose a fourth round of sanctions over Teheran's nuclear program.
While the Foreign Ministry considers Ahmadinejad's attendance at the Shanghai Expo as the reason for his visit, analysts say he is here to seek more support from China to water down fresh sanctions.
They also said the sudden visit would not prevent the resolution from passing the Security Council.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang didn't say who the Iranian president would meet in China, but President Hu Jintao will be visiting Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan on Friday.
"We believe that dialogue and negotiation are the proper way to settle this issue," Qin said. "We hope Iran strengthens its cooperation with the IAEA to settle the pending issues."
While Western powers suspect Iran of developing nuclear weapons, Teheran says its nuclear program is for peaceful power generation.
As a country with veto power on the UN Security Council, China's decision would be key to passing the resolution.
The final version of the resolution, as AP reported on Tuesday, would ban Iran from pursuing "any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons," bar Iranian investment in activities such as uranium mining and prohibit Iran from buying several categories of heavy weapons, including assault helicopters and missiles.
It did not include a list of new individuals and entities - including Iran's Revolutionary Guard - that would be subject to sanctions such as an asset freeze.
A council diplomat familiar with the negotiations said that the list, which was agreed on by the five veto-wielding permanent members, had been circulated to the 10 non-permanent members and was being kept open. Commenting on Ahmadinejad's upcoming Shanghai-tour, Professor Zhang Xiaodong, deputy chief of the Chinese Association for Middle East Studies, said the Iranian president is here for more China support to water down the sanctions.
But China, Zhang said, also needs to consider its ties with the US.
"On some issues we may challenge the US. But on some other issues it's not worth doing so, as it may hurt the Sino-US ties."
He said China would tell Iran not to be that rigid even though the US now has a lot of foreign policy troubles on its plate. "For Iran and China, it's in the interests of both to have dialogues with the US. " The Iranian president, however, continued to be tough to Western powers on Tuesday.
Despite a looming UN vote on the resolution, Ahmadinejad warned his country's nuclear fuel swap deal with Turkey and Brazil was "an opportunity that would not be repeated", Reuters reported.
1. What is Ahmadinejad’s said reason for visiting China?
2. Why Does Ahmadinejad want to appeal to Chinese officials?
3. Why does the US wish to impose sanctions?
1. To visit the Shanghai Expo
2. To open dialogue and water down US-imposed sanctions
3. To prevent them from developing a nuclear program.
（中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑）
Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China daily for one year.