Iran’s Interior Minister Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi said China renewed its support for negotiations over his country’s nuclear activities, and he warned that new UN sanctions could force Tehran to adopt “other means”. Pour-Mohammadi said he had reached a consensus on the issue in meetings in Beijing with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and senior foreign policy adviser Tang Jiaxuan.
“The two sides agreed that other methods such as sanctions are inappropriate and ineffective,” Pour-Mohammadi told reporters at the Iranian Embassy.
Asked whether China had urged more active cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, Pour-Mohammadi replied, “It’s natural that our friends in other countries hope that talks conclude successfully.”
China’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted Yang as saying China supported a negotiated settlement and opposed the spread of nuclear weapons.
“China would like to continue its efforts to push forward the peaceful resolution of Iran’s nuclear issue,” Xinhua quoted Yang as saying.
China, one of five permanent veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council, has urged Iran to cooperate with UN inspectors but has thwarted attempts by fellow permanent Security Council members – the US, Britain and France – to impose harsh UN sanctions on Iran.
Undeterred, the United States has said it will still push for new penalties unless Tehran scraps nuclear technology.
Pour-Mohammadi declined to elaborate on statements by other Iranian officials that new sanctions could lead Tehran to end cooperation with the IAEA, however, he said Iran would choose a different approach if dialogue fails.
“If dialogue doesn’t work, then we will employ other means,” Pour-Mohammadi said.
“Unfriendly relations with the IAEA is not something we wish to see happen,” he said.