Reuters: China urged Iran on Wednesday to respond positively to a package of incentives and penalties aimed at persuading it to give up uranium enrichment and defuse a showdown with Washington and its allies. SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China urged Iran on Wednesday to respond positively to a package of incentives and penalties aimed at persuading it to give up uranium enrichment and defuse a showdown with Washington and its allies.
Pressure is growing on Tehran to reply to the big-power offer, originally drawn up by Britain, France and Germany – known as the EU-3. That package has also been endorsed by the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, including China.
Since it was presented with the set of possible concessions, Iran has insisted on its right to enrich uranium, but has not rejected the deal outright.
“The EU-3 have come up with a new package regarding the Iran nuclear issue. They have briefed Iran on it, and Iran is looking at it very seriously,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters at in Shanghai.
“We hope that all sides will come up with a positive response, and will adopt a positive, pragmatic and flexible attitude so we can create conditions favourable for the resumption of negotiations,” he added.
Liu was speaking at a news conference for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), a Central Asian security group that China has promoted.
Iran is only an observer member of the SCO, but its nuclear ambitions are overshadowing the meeting. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is due to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday.
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is also attending and appears likely to also meet the often fiery Iranian leader.
While the United States has condemned Iran as a sponsor of terrorism, Liu said it was the “consensus” of SCO members that Iran could enjoy observer status. Liu said that one of the purposes of the SCO is to combat terrorism and extremism.