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China Urges Iran to Cooperate with IAEA

  • Daniel Schearf

China has urged Iran to heed the concerns of the international community and cooperate with the United Nations nuclear watchdog. The statement comes the same day Iran's president says his country is open to what he calls "new conditions" to resolve the standoff with the West over Tehran's nuclear program.

The Chinese government says Iran should seize the opportunity for negotiations its nuclear program and its efforts to enrich uranium.

At a regular news briefing, Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the Iranian nuclear issue is at a critical moment. He urged Tehran to cooperate with the United Nations nuclear agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"We call on relevant parties to maintain patience and calm and find ways for the proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue," he said. "At the same time we call on the Iranian side to seriously consider the concerns of the international community and take measures to cooperate with the IAEA to solve some unresolved issues."

The comments in Beijing came just hours after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his government wants to resolve the issue through dialogue and is ready for "new conditions." He did not elaborate on what he meant by new conditions.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, together with Germany, are offering Iran economic and political incentives to stop uranium enrichment.

The United States and other Western nations believe Iran is enriching uranium to make nuclear weapons, while Iran says its nuclear program is only for peaceful energy purposes.

Washington says Iran should face sanctions for ignoring the U.N.'s August 31 deadline for suspending its uranium enrichment program.

Despite the deadline passing, Russia and China have resisted U.S.-led moves toward sanctions and have urged continued negotiations.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Wednesday that Washington would push for sanctions against Tehran at the United Nations, next week.

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