China calls for early nuke talks

By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-05 07:18

China yesterday called for early resumption of negotiations on Iran's nuclear program in a bid to promote "comprehensive and peaceful" resolution of the issue.

Given the current situation, it has become "more necessary and urgent" to reopen negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan said yesterday during talks with Iran's secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Ali Larijani, in Beijing.

Larijani, who is also Iran's top nuclear negotiator, arrived in Beijing yesterday for two-day visit as a special envoy of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, carrying a message from the Iranian leader to Chinese President Hu Jintao. Hu is expected to meet with him today.

"China has been maintaining dialogue and consultations, and this is the best way to resolve the Iranian nuke issue," Tang said.

"We hope related parties show flexibility and create favorable conditions for resumption of the talks as soon as possible to promote the comprehensive and peaceful resolution of the issue."

Larijani's China trip comes amid Teheran's defiance over sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council for its nuclear program.

The United States has led the drive to stop Iran from enriching uranium a process that they fear could be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran insists its atomic program is entirely peaceful and it has every right to the nuclear fuel cycle.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on December 23 to impose sanctions on Iran's trade in sensitive nuclear materials and technology. It was an attempt on the part of the UN to stop Iran from its uranium enrichment work that could produce material used in bombs.

Tang said the UN resolution 1713 reflects the concerns of the international community over safeguarding the non-proliferation system.

In response, Larijani said, under the current situation, his country is still ready to abide by the principle of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and continue its efforts to seek a just and rational solution to the issue through "equal consultations".

He also appreciated China's efforts in pushing for the negotiations for peaceful resolution of the issue.

Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday in a speech to a rally in the southern city of Ahvaz that Iran would not retreat from its right to nuclear technology and that the UN resolution was "invalid".

However, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters in New York on Wednesday council members should not be discouraged by those comments. "Sometimes all sorts of statements are made. But we have to do our diplomatic and political thing, and we believe there is still hope."

Iran's International Center for Strategic Research Deputy Director Hossein Musavian said on Wednesday it would be more in the interests of the international community if the 5+1 group the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany resumed talks with Iran as soon as possible.

Musavian told a press conference that holding direct talks with the US at this stage will not yield positive outcomes for Iran because the problems between Teheran and Washington are more complicated than they seem.

"Because our main partner is the 5+1 group. There is still room for talks with Russia and China and Non-Aligned Movement members as well," he said.

Agencies contributed to the story

(China Daily 01/05/2007 page2)

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