Reuters: The leaders of Britain and Germany gave strong backing to sanctions against Iran in talks on Thursday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said. LONDON, April 1 (Reuters) – The leaders of Britain and Germany gave strong backing to sanctions against Iran in talks on Thursday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said.
Iran's nuclear programme and the world economic situation were high on Brown and German Chancellor Angela Merkel's agenda in talks at the British leader's Chequers country residence.
China agreed on Wednesday to serious negotiations with Western powers, including Britain and Germany, about imposing new sanctions on Iran, setting aside its long-held scepticism.
"On Iran, there was strong support from both leaders for sanctions, and agreement on the continued need to engage with international partners on the issue," Brown's office said in a statement on the Brown-Merkel talks.
The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council — the United States, China, Russia, France and Britain — together with Germany have been tackling Iran over its nuclear programme.
The West suspects the Iranian programme is aimed at developing nuclear weapons but Tehran says it is to produce energy.
China's agreement to discuss further sanctions is important because it has veto power on the Security Council.
(Reporting by Adrian Croft, Peter Griffiths, additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in Berlin; Editing by Ralph Boulton)