China Supports Iran Dialogue, ‘Peaceful’ Nuclear Energy

Posted March 6th, 2012 at 2:30 am (UTC-5)
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China says it supports resolving the issue of Iran's nuclear program through dialogue, echoing comments made this week by U.S. President Barack Obama.

But Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told reporters in Beijing Tuesday that countries should be able to have and use nuclear technology for non-weapons purposes.

“On the Iranian nuclear issue, we are opposed to the development and possession of nuclear weapons by any country in the Middle East, including Iran. At the same time, we believe that all countries, while fulfilling their responsibilities and obligations, have the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy.”

He said China is opposed to anyone in the Middle East developing nuclear weapons.

The comments come a day after the U.N.'s nuclear agency chief said there are “serious concerns” about a possible military element to Iran's nuclear program.

A team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency visited Iran last month, but was denied access to the Parchin military complex near Tehran.

The IAEA chief, Yukiya Amano, said Monday the agency is aware of “some activities” at the site, and that they believe “going there sooner is better than later.”

Israel and Western powers accuse Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian energy program, a charge Tehran denies.

The Chinese foreign minister also spoke Tuesday about the broader Middle East and allowing the people there to address their own issues.

“We firmly believe that people in the Middle East know best the situation there. Issues in the Middle East region should be solved by the people of the Middle East. The future and destiny of the Middle East should be determined by the people there.”

China and Russia have twice vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions that would have condemned the Syrian government for its deadly crackdown on a year-long opposition uprising. Yang said China's stance on Syria is gaining international support.