China Calls for Iran’s Responsiveness to Sanctions

A0256543.jpgTEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- China on Friday urged Iran to give a “serious response” to a United Nations Security Council resolution that imposed sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment.

Iran’s top nuclear envoy, in Beijing for a two-day visit, however, warned that Iran’s commitment to the peaceful use of nuclear technology would change if the country were threatened.

The negotiator, Ali Larijani, gave China’s president, Hu Jintao, a letter from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mr. Larijani and Mr. Hu discussed the sanctions, which bar countries from selling materials and technology to Iran that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs. The resolution, passed last month, also froze the assets of 10 Iranian companies and 12 people related to those programs.

If Iran refuses to comply with the demand to suspend uranium enrichment within 60 days, the resolution warns that the Council will adopt further nonmilitary sanctions.

The sanctions reflect “the shared concerns of the international community over the Iranian nuclear issue, and we hope Iran could make a serious response to the resolution,” Mr. Hu told Mr. Larijani, according to China’s official New China News Agency.

“China continues to believe the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved through diplomatic negotiation,” Mr. Hu added.

In Tehran, Mr. Ahmadinejad said Friday that sanctions would not stop Iran from enriching uranium, state-run television reported.

“Iran will stand up to coercion,” state-run television quoted him as saying. “All Iranians stand united to defend their nuclear rights.”

He continued, “Enemies have assumed that they can prevent the progress of the Iranian nation through psychological war and issuing resolutions, but they will be defeated.”

Vice President Gholam Reza Agha-zadeh, who also leads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, announced on Friday that Iran had produced and stored 250 tons of uranium hexafluoride gas, the feedstock for enrichment, state-run television reported. The hexafluoride gas, UF6, is being stored in underground tunnels at a nuclear facility in Isfahan.

While the United States has led the drive to stop Iran from enriching uranium, it compromised on the sanctions to win the support of China and Russia, both veto-wielding members of the Security Council who have strong trade ties with Iran.

Mr. Larijani indicated that China’s decision to support the resolution had not hurt their ties, calling them “long-term and long-lasting.”

“Countries who have strategic long-term relationships will not change their strategic relationships because of tactical issues,” he said at a news conference.

Iran has always stressed the peaceful nature of its nuclear programs, saying its nuclear program is limited to the generation of electricity, a stance that Mr. Larijani reiterated.

“We oppose obtaining nuclear weapons and we will peacefully use nuclear technology under the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),” he said.

“But,” he warned, “If we are threatened, the situation may change.”

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