Iran Nuclear NewsUS urges China to back new UN sanctions on...

US urges China to back new UN sanctions on Iran

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AFP: The United States urged China here Monday to back a new UN Security Council resolution mandating tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, saying a deal with Beijing was possible soon. WASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States urged China here Monday to back a new UN Security Council resolution mandating tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, saying a deal with Beijing was possible soon.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice presented the US position to Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who is visiting Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

“The secretary underlined she thought it was important and the United States government feels as though it is important to move forward with a new Security Council resolution,” McCormack told reporters.

Rice also thought it important to “encourage China to play an effective role as they have done in the past year and half in formulating and passing a new Security Council resolution,” he added.

McCormack said there would be a meeting in “a week or so” of the political directors from the foreign ministries of France, Britain, Russia, China, Germany and the United States to discuss the next steps.

Rice encouraged Yang to send a political director to the meeting, he added.

The six powers were to have met on November 19 in Brussels but it was canceled after China, which opposes sanctions on Iran, said it would not attend.

The six countries take the international lead on dealing with Iran’s disputed nuclear program. All but Germany holds a seat as a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

McCormack said Washington hoped for Chinese cooperation soon on the sanctions issue.

“Over the past several weeks we have been encouraging them to be more constructive both in scheduling a political directors meeting as well as really agreeing to the elements of a resolution,” he said.

“I think we will be able to come to some agreement. We will see if we can get that accomplished in the coming weeks,” McCormack added.

On November 15, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, warned China it would have to bear responsibility for the failure of diplomacy to resolve the nuclear crisis if it blocks a third set of sanctions.

China has denied it was blocking efforts on Iran.

Khalilzad commented after the UN International Atomic Energy Agency found Iran had made “substantial progress” in revealing the nature and extent of its program, but needs to be more pro-active in providing information.

He accused the Chinese of foot-dragging “in terms of participation of in the political directors’ meeting to come to an agreement on a new resolution as quickly as possible.”

Iran has always insisted that its atomic drive is purely to generate electricity for a growing population, but Washington accuses Tehran of seeking to develop a nuclear bomb.

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