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China urges new talks with Iran

By Zhu Zhe in Teheran and Zhao Shengnan in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: 2012-09-13 07:50

China's top legislator on Tuesday made rare remarks about Iran's controversial nuclear programs, saying China opposes sanctions or the threat of using force while reiterating that peace talks are the right way to resolve the issue.

Wu Bangguo, chairman of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee, said China opposes any country in the Middle East developing and possessing nuclear weapons, but China believes that the right of a country to use nuclear energy peacefully should be guaranteed.

Wu made the remarks during a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday afternoon. His three-day visit to Iran, which began on Sunday, marks the first time in 16 years that China's top legislator has visited the Islamic country.

China is willing to play a constructive role in the proper resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue and promote peace talks with six mediators to generate substantial results. China hopes Iran continues to adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach to the issue, he said.

Ahmadinejad said Iran is willing to resolve the nuclear problem through dialogue and cooperation, and would like to keep in touch with all parties concerned.

Iran has been heavily criticized and sanctioned by the West for its nuclear programs, which Iran insists are peaceful and are being carried out under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

China hopes the agency will deal with the Iranian nuclear issue in an objective and balanced manner, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday.

"We are actively participating in the deliberation of the Iranian nuclear issue at meetings of the agency, and hope the agency will play a constructive role to promote a diplomatic effort to solve the issue," said Hong.

China, Russia, the United States, France, Britain and Germany proposed on Wednesday that Iran be rebuked over its expanded uranium enrichment programs and urged it to clarify concerns about its disputed nuclear activities, according to Reuters.

The six countries submitted a proposed joint resolution expressing continued support for diplomatic efforts aimed at a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue to the 35-nation governing board of the agency, which is expected to vote on it later this week.

The talks on the issue are at a crucial stage, Hong said, adding that it is urgent for the six countries to hold a new round of talks with Iran as soon as possible.

Dialogue and cooperation are helpful but have not been sufficient so far, said Jin Liangxiang, a researcher on Iranian studies with the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies.

Hua Liming, a former Chinese ambassador to Iran, said the six-power talks can hardly yield an effective document unless either Iran or the West makes concessions.

Contact the writers at zhuzhe@chinadaily.com.cn and zhaoshengnan@chinadaily.com.cn

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