The U.S. ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency is in
Beijing for discussions expected to focus on Iran's uranium nuclear
program. As Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing, China has been
reluctant to support tougher U.N. sanctions against Tehran.
U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA, Greg Schulte, told journalists Monday
Iran's nuclear program is a threat to stability in the Middle East and
that it is in China's interest to help end the program.
50 percent of China's crude oil supply comes from the Middle East,"
said Schulte. "And, so I would argue that actually China
has, just from the standpoint of energy security has a major interest
in convincing Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions."
been under increasing international pressure to stop its uranium
enrichment program. Iran says the program is for producing peaceful
nuclear power, but the U.S. and other western nations suspect Iran
wants to develop nuclear weapons.
China supported three rounds
of limited U.N. sanctions against Iran, but along with Russia has been
reluctant to support tougher, comprehensive sanctions.
Iran is a major supplier of oil to energy hungry China, and despite the sanctions Beijing continues to do business with Tehran.
Schulte says now is not the time for business as usual.
is a time when the leaders of Iran need to understand that there are
consequences for their action and so I think it's important that they
get this message consistently from both what countries say and what
countries do," he said.
Over the weekend Iran appeared to reject the
latest international offer for nuclear power and diplomatic incentives
in exchange for suspension of its uranium enrichment program. Iran has
said it will not suspend the program for any offer.
in Beijing for consultations with Chinese officials on Iran and other
nuclear concerns. He says he would also like to see China, a member of
the IAEA board, be more vocal in criticizing Syria's nuclear ambitions.
on the board, being on the Security Council, China can add its voice to
others basically saying to Syria, both publicly and privately, that you
need to cooperate fully with the IAEA," said Schulte.
Washington says Syria was developing a secret nuclear facility before Israel bombed it last September.