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China Encourages Talks to Resolve Iran Issue
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China hopes Iran would address the international community's concern over its nuclear issue positively, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said yesterday.


At his meeting with visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi, Li said, "China maintains its long-standing position to seek a diplomatic and peaceful resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue."


On its part, the international community should continue its diplomatic efforts for an early resumption of the talks, he added.


Officials of the five permanent UN Security Council members, the US, France, Russia, China and Britain, along with Germany, who met in London early this week, said they were committed to resolving the issue through negotiations.


The UN imposed limited sanctions on Iran's nuclear program in December. The country was forewarned of severe curbs if it ignored the February 21 deadline to stop its uranium enrichment, which the West says is aimed at making atomic bombs.


But Iran insists it is doing so only to make fuel for nuclear power plants.


Araghchi told reporters at the Iranian Embassy in Beijing that Iran was ready for a fair and reasonable resolution to the issue through talks. He believes that negotiation is the only way to end the standoff.


"Nothing can be solved through military means. There is almost no possibility that the US is going to attack Iran," Araghchi said.


"But given the fact that the US has a history of repeating its mistakes, we have to be well prepared for a military attack," he said. But it would be a huge mistake if the US closes the door on negotiations and launches an attack.


France is trying to find a common ground among the five Security Council permanent members, visiting French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told a new conference yesterday.


France is trying to position itself as a balancing point between the US and the UK, who want more sanctions against Iran, and China and Russia, who seek a more moderate route to end the stand-off, he said.


"A united international community is crucial if Iran is to make a strategic decision to either opt for isolation or suspend its sensitive nuclear activities and open itself to negotiations," he said.


"France is willing to have talks with Iran if it halts its sensitive nuclear activities," he added.


(China Daily March 2, 2007)

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