China agrees to discuss UN sanctions on Iran
A conference call Wednesday between the permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany resulted in China 'agreeing to sit down and begin serious negotiations' on Iran sanctions.
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China told world powers Wednesday it would enter negotiations for new sanctions on Iran, removing the main stumbling block the US had faced in its push to get a resolution through the UN Security Council.
But Thursday, Iran rebutted, saying "sanctions is a threat that has been ineffective" as it sent its chief nuclear negotiator to Beijing, where a Chinese spokesman said Beijing would try for a “peaceful resolution” to the situation through “diplomatic” means – similar language to last September, when a spokesman said "China always believes that sanctions and pressure should not be an option."
The US and its allies have been pushing for tough new sanctions against Iran, which they accuse of using its nuclear program to develop weapons. Iran insists its program is for peaceful purposes, and an agreement in the Security Council has been held up by Russia and China, which both have the right to veto resolutions in the council. A willingness on China’s part to discuss sanctions would mark a distinct turn from its position favoring more negotiations, and markedly improves the chances that a resolution could be passed.
"China has agreed to sit down and begin serious negotiations here in New York ... as a first step toward getting the entire U.N. Security Council on board with a tough sanctions regime against Iran," Susan Rice, […] told CNN.
"We're gratified that now we're going to get down to the nuts and bolts of negotiations. That's what's necessary," Rice said. "We will be working intensively in the coming weeks to build the strongest possible agreement to a set of sanctions that will put real pressure on Iran and clarify the stark choice that it faces."