Iranian Interior Minister in China for N. Talks

A002198010.jpgIranian Interior Minister Mostafa Pour Mohammadi arrived in Beijing on Thursday for two days of talks that he said would focus on the debate over his nation’s nuclear program. “I will talk about the most important international and regional questions, Iran’s nuclear case and also issues relating to the Middle East,” he told Iranian state media after arriving in the Chinese capital.

Pour Mohammadi began his trip as the board of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency was meeting in Vienna to discuss a report from the nuclear watchdog’s chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, on Iran’s atomic program.

The report includes a timetable which the IAEA agreed in August with Iran for Tehran to answer questions about its nuclear work. But it also says Iran has not halted uranium enrichment.

Iran maintains that its nuclear program is aimed at generating electricity but the United States accuses Tehran of using it to hide work on developing atomic weapons.

The IAEA has been working since February 2003 to determine whether Iran’s atomic program is peaceful, but has yet to come to a final conclusion.

Senior Iranian officials warned on Wednesday that potential new UN sanctions against Iran for pressing on with uranium enrichment would torpedo the IAEA’s renewed nuclear inspections deal.

Referring to the August agreement with the IAEA, Pour Mohammadi said on Thursday, “Iran respects its engagements and its friends need to be well informed about the agreements.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu urged Tehran to implement the August deal, while not commenting directly on a question as to whether China would support a third round of sanctions.

“We welcome the action plan reached by Iran and the IAEA on resolving the issue of Iran’s nuclear program,” Jiang told reporters.

“We hope that Iran can strengthen cooperation with the IAEA and seriously implement the action plan.”

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