China's ambassador to the United Nations says he will not support new sanctions against Iran because diplomatic negotiations on the issue need more "time and patience."
Zhang Yesui told reporters in New York Tuesday that a peaceful settlement of the issue is the best option. China holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council this month.
China has long called for more dialogue to address the Iranian nuclear dispute.
U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley said it was no secret that the United States and China look at sanctions differently. He said the U.S. will continue to work on both applying pressure and engaging Iran.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington has begun talks with allies about imposing new sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program.
Clinton said the U.S. also wants to keep the door open for dialogue with Iran, but that the government cannot continue to wait while Iranian officials talk about increasing production of highly enriched uranium.
In response to Clinton's comments, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said setting any deadline would be meaningless.
The United States and its Western allies accuse Iran of working to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran says its atomic program is for peaceful purposes.
Separately, Iranian state media reported Tuesday that the country's Revolutionary Guards will hold naval maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz in February. Media reports quoted an Iranian navy commander (Rear Admiral Morteza Safari) who said the exercises were crucial to assess the Iran's military preparedness.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.