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China Rejects Israeli Push for Further Sanctions Against Iran


Israel's Foreign Minister has urged China to support more sanctions against Iran for its refusal to stop its nuclear programs. But as Daniel Schearf reports for VOA from Beijing, China has rejected new sanctions.

Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told a press briefing the time is ripe for more sanctions against Iran.

She said Iran's nuclear programs and what she called its support for terrorist groups were a threat not only to Israel, but also to the world.

"We believe that there is a need for more sanctions in the United Nations Security Council. China supported, of course, the past two decisions in the Security Council," said Livni. "We believe that there is a need to enhance the sanctions in order to stop Iran since sanctions are influential when it comes to the needs of Iran. "

Livni made the comments at the end of a three-day visit to China where she hoped to persuade Beijing to moderate its longstanding relationship with Tehran. Iran is a key supplier of crude oil to energy-hungry China.

China has veto power in the U.N. Security Council and has supported past sanctions against Iran. But China, along with fellow veto-wielding member Russia, has been reluctant to support further sanctions.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Tuesday rejected any immediate sanctions.

"We think at the moment relevant parties are seeking dialogue with Iran to solve the nuclear issue. [We] should [therefore] all the more avoid using sanctions so as not to further complicate the issue," said Liu.

Iran is developing a nuclear program it says is for peaceful energy purposes, but many nations suspect Iran aims to develop nuclear weapons.

Iran stands accused of supporting terrorists and has repeatedly called for the destruction of Israel.

China has good relations with both Israel and its Muslim neighbors.

Also visiting Beijing, Jordan's King Abdullah urged China to take a more active role in the Middle East peace process. He described China as an honest broker, well respected in his part of the world, whose diplomatic role would only grow in the years to come.

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