Sunday, Sept 29, 2008
China has called for an end to the ‘use of force’ against Tehran in a move that will further complicate the push for new anti-Iran sanctions.
Days after the US failed to convince the United Nations Security Council permanent members plus Germany to impose further sanctions against Tehran, China has urged world powers not to resort to ‘force’ over Iran’s nuclear program.
“Major powers should pursue peaceful talks with Iran rather than resort to the willful use of force or the intimidation of force,” Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said Sunday in his first interview with US media in five years.
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World powers on Friday held a surprise meeting on the issue of sanctions over Iran’s uranium enrichment activities, following fierce Russian opposition to the idea of adopting new sanctions.
Although China and Russia oppose further sanctions, a draft resolution was prepared and passed unanimously on Saturday by the UN Security Council.
The resolution, which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has described as “very simple” urges Iran to comply with existing resolutions but does not include new sacntions.
“Russia does not intend to punish anyone,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said after the Friday meeting. “Our intention is to confirm all previous decisions.”
During the session, Indonesia spoke out against the imposition of new sanctions. “The present draft resolution does not provide for additional sanctions against Iran. If it did, we would not have been able to support it,” said Indonesia’s Ambassador to the UN, Marty Natalegawa.
China’s recent response is further indication that punitive measures against Iran are losing support.
“It’s like treating the relationship between two individuals. If one individual tries to corner the other, then the effect will be counterproductive. That will do nothing in helping resolve the problem,” China’s prime minister continued.
“Our purpose is to resolve the problem, not to escalate tensions,” Wen told CNN.
Under US pressure, the UN Security Council has so far imposed three rounds of sanctions against Iran in a bid to persuade the country to halt uranium enrichment.
Contrary to the findings of the UN nuclear watchdog, the US, Israel and their European allies accuse Iran, a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of seeking nuclear weapons.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, however, announced in its latest report on Iran that it could not find any ‘components of a nuclear weapon’ or ‘related nuclear physics studies’ in the country.
The US nevertheless claims that a recently found laptop contains information on nuclear weapons research pointing to Iran.
The UN nuclear watchdog has thus requested Iran to provide the agency with documents to shed light on the ‘alleged studies of weaponization’, accusing the country of withholding information needed to explain ‘serious’ intelligence.
Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh, has responded with a request that the agency provide Tehran with the original documents. Tehran says with the original documents it may be able to prove the allegations to be based on ‘fabricated’ data.
The UN nuclear watchdog, however, says it is not in a ‘position’ to do so – Washington which has used the issue to lobby for more punitive measures against the Islamic Republic and has only provided the IAEA with copies of the documents.
This article was posted: Monday, September 29, 2008 at 3:38 am