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China backs plan to have Iran's uranium enriched in Russia
Updated: 2006-01-26 16:40

China has expressed support for a plan to have Iran's uranium enriched in Russia as a way to end the global impasse over the Islamic republic's nuclear program.

"We think the suggestion would be a good attempt at breaking the stalemate," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a regular press briefing when asked about the proposal.

Kong also reiterated China's stance that it preferred diplomatic efforts to any other method of ending the global stand-off over Iran's nuclear program.

"We always advocate resolving issues through negotiations. Under this context we support all diplomatic efforts to properly resolve the issues," he said.

Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, who arrived in Beijing Thursday for a one-day visit, expressed qualified support on Wednesday for the plan to enrich his nation's uranium on Russian territory.

Under the proposed deal, uranium for Iran's nascent nuclear power program would be enriched in Russia in order to keep tabs on the material.

It would allay Western and Israeli fears that Iran secretly plans to build a nuclear weapon under cover of the civilian power project.

The European Union and the United States have previously given backing to the plan.

At the request of Britain, Germany and France, the UN nuclear watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will hold an emergency meeting in Vienna on February 2 and 3 to discuss the Iranian issue.

The IAEA could decide to send Iran to the UN Security Council.

"Especially before the IAEA meeting in February, we hope all sides can further their diplomatic and negotiation efforts," Kong said.

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