CHINA / Top News

'Concerned' China sends envoy to Iran
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-14 06:23

China is sending a special envoy to Teheran Friday to help defuse the Iranian nuclear crisis, the Foreign Ministry announced yesterday.

Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai "will exchange views with Iranian and Russian diplomats (later in Moscow) on the Iran nuclear issue and other issues of common concern," ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. "The visit aims at stepping up exchanges with all parties concerned in a bid to help resolve the nuclear issue," Liu said.

China "is concerned about" the Iranian statement that it had enriched uranium and "is worried about the way in which things are developing," Liu said .

He appealed to all parties to show restraint and not take actions that might aggravate the situation, adding the matter should be settled through negotiations and diplomatic efforts.

His remarks came as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed yesterday that his country would not back away from uranium enrichment.

"We know they (the US and its allies) are waiting for us to retreat one iota so that they use that (against us)," the official Islamic Republic News Agency quoted Ahmadinejad as saying. "We won't hold talks with anyone about the right of the Iranian nation (to enrich uranium)."

His comments coincided with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei's arrival in Teheran yesterday to try and find a solution to the crisis.

In New York, China's Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya told reporters that "I hope the Iranians take note of the reaction (of the international community) and be more co-operative."

He said that diplomatic efforts are still under way, and what actions the Security Council will take depends on ElBaradei's report to be submitted by the end of this month.

ElBaradei told reporters after arrival at Teheran airport that he believed the time was "ripe" for a political solution.

He said he would seek "more active co-operation" from Iran in order to clear up questions about the nature of the Iranian programme.