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China Urges Iran to Heed Nuclear Concerns

China has urged Iran to heed rising international concerns about its nuclear ambitions.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao Thursday, said Beijing hopes all relevant parties can peacefully settle the issue through "dialogue and consultation."

China, along with Russia, has been reluctant to take a tougher stance against Iran for defying a United Nations demand to halt its sensitive nuclear activities.

However, all five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany agreed last week to discuss a third set of sanctions against Iran, pending a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency on the Iranian nuclear issue.

On Wednesday, President Bush said a nuclear-armed Iran could be very dangerous. Speaking to reporters jointly with the visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Mr. Bush said the two governments are working to diplomatically resolve the stand-off with Iran.

Mr. Sarkozy said Tehran should never have a nuclear weapon, but he added that it is entitled to develop a civilian nuclear energy program.

Earlier Wednesday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country reached a key nuclear target of operating 3,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium. He also said Tehran's nuclear fuel production program is "irreversible."

Iran has repeatedly denied charges that it is seeking to create a nuclear weapon. It says its nuclear program is peaceful.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.