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Iran's Interior Minister Says China Against New Nuclear Sanctions


Iran's interior minister, Mostafa Pur-Mohammadi, says China is signaling its opposition to new U.S. proposed sanctions against Tehran for its nuclear program. VOA's Heda Bayron reports from Beijing, where the Iranian official held meetings with his Chinese counterparts.

Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Pur-Mohammadi told reporters Friday, China and Iran agreed that the issue of Iran's nuclear programs should be resolved through dialogue.

The Iranian official met with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Friday in Beijing, a week before the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany meet to discuss a possible third set of sanctions against Iran for its refusal to halt its nuclear program.

As a permanent member, China's vote is needed for any new UN sanctions against Tehran. Chinese state media reported Friday that China's foreign minister urged Iran to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to settle the issue diplomatically.

The Iranian minister warned that new sanctions could harm its cooperation with the IAEA.

Iran reached an agreement with the IAEA last month on a timetable for Tehran to answer questions about its past nuclear activities. The IAEA has been working since 2003 to determine whether Iran's nuclear programs are for peaceful uses, as Tehran insists. But it has not reached a conclusion.

The United States and its allies suspect that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons. They want Tehran to suspend all nuclear activities and allow broader inspections.

The U.N. Security Council first imposed economic sanctions on Iran in December 2006. It added more sanctions in March.