UNITED NATIONS - China's UN ambassador said on Tuesday that diplomacy on
Iran's nuclear program should run its course before any consideration of
additional Security Council sanctions to curb Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
"More importance should be
attached to the diplomatic track," Ambassador Wang Guangya told a news
conference, adding that he doubted "if it is right moment for the Security
Council to take more measures in the sanctions area."
Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya in a
file photo. [Reuters]
The council has imposed two sets of sanctions on Tehran for its refusal to
suspend uranium enrichment work, which major Western nations believe is a cover
Wang said senior foreign ministry officials of the five permanent council
members with veto power -- the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China
-- plus Germany had had telephone conferences but no decision had been made.
Still, the United States has considered tougher sanctions, such as inspection
of cargo from Iran for any illicit shipments. And Britain has advocated denying
landing and transit rights for Iranian airlines and ships and freezing assets
abroad of some Iranian banks, according to documents seen by Reuters.
Iran currently is reviewing a "time out" or pause proposal to stop its
enrichment in return for a halt to further UN sanctions. But so far Tehran has
refused such a step, arguing that its nuclear work is for peaceful purposes
Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani and the European Union foreign
policy chief, Javier Solana, have reviewed a proposal for a pause but no results
Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, had
earlier proposed a "double suspension" involving a complete end to enrichment
and lifting UN sanctions at the same time.
This too has not yielded a positive response from Tehran, but Wang said that
the council should take no action, or even draft a resolution imposing more
"I do believe that now we have to put more emphasis on the diplomatic track,"
"I think if somebody is thinking of circulating a sanctions resolution at
this moment, when Mr. ElBaradei and Mr. Solana are conducting negotiations, is
not helpful." he said.
Wang said that Iran had the right to "enjoy the peaceful uses of nuclear
technology" but some kind of a "freeze" was necessary because "there are some
suspicions of its nature."
The IAEA announced last week it would send inspectors to Tehran shortly to
work on a plan aimed at clearing up continuing suspicions about Iran's
Wang also said it would be helpful if "other parties who have a direct
interest in finding a solution on this issue" entered in direct negotiations
with Iran, an apparent reference to the United States. The Bush administration
has offered talks once Iran suspends enrichment.