Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki will discuss Teheran's nuclear program and other issues of common concern today, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said yesterday.
The nuclear issue will definitely be on top of the agenda during Yang's visit to Iran. But that is not the sole purpose of his trip, Hua Liming, former Chinese ambassador to Iran, told China Daily.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a country with close ties with Iran, China will try to persuade Iran to cooperate with the international community, Hua said.
The European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and Saeed Jalili, who replaced Ali Larijani as Iran's chief nuclear negotiator last month, agreed on Sunday to hold a new round of talks by the end of this month, Iranian news agencies have said.
But after Larijiani was replaced, the talks have created more doubts than they have raised hopes. The change of guard doesn't bode well for a resolution of Iran's nuclear issue, Hua said, because Larijani was known for being practical and cooperative with the West.
The acceptance of Larijani's resignation itself means that the Iranian government will probably walk away from his soft line, Hua said.
But differences exist not only within the Iranian government, but also in the White House, with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice considering sanctions as a solution and Vice-President Dick Cheney advocating a war strategy.
"Since Teheran refused to budge despite threats of more sanctions, and as Russia, some European countries and China cannot see where such sanctions could lead, the Bush administration is facing increasing pressure from war campaigners such as Cheney," Hua said.
(China Daily November 13, 2007)