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China rejects new anti-Iran sanctions

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei

Chinese Foreign Ministry has rejected the idea of imposing additional sanctions against Iran, calling for further dialogue to resolve concerns around the Islamic Republic’s nuclear issue.

“We always believe that dialogue and cooperation is the right way to solve the Iranian nuclear issue,” said China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Thursday, adding that sanctions cannot fundamentally resolve the case.

“The pressing task now is [for] all parties concerned [to] step up diplomatic efforts,” he added.

Hong’s remark came following the distribution of the latest report by Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano to the 35 members of the Board of Governors about Iran’s nuclear activities.

In its report, the IAEA has reportedly accused Iran of conducting activities related to developing nuclear weapons before 2003, claiming that such activities “may still be ongoing.”

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday fiercely dismissed the IAEA report, insisting that Iranians will never give up even “an iota’ of their legitimate rights.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has so far opposed plans by US-led Western states to impose tougher United Nations sanctions against Iran.

“We hope the IAEA will be fair and objective, and actively committed to clarifying the salient issues through cooperation with Iran,” Hong said.

“This is the pressing task at this stage,” Chinese spokesman added.

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov also on Wednesday dismissed as “unacceptable” any additional anti-Iran measure, saying, “Any additional sanctions against Iran will be interpreted by the international community as a means of changing the regime in Tehran.”

“This approach is unacceptable to us, and Russia does not intend to review this proposal,” he added.

The US and its allies have rhetorically accused Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program without pointing to any specific evidence. The US-led group of countries used the often repeated allegation as a pretext to convince the UN Security Council to impose a fourth round of sanctions on Iran.

Tehran has categorically refuted Western allegations, saying that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it has the right to acquire and develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.


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