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China not to support sanctions against Iran

China would never support sanctions against Iran as a "matter of principle," the Chinese ambassador to the UN said on Friday.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 01:55 IST

China would never support sanctions against Iran as a "matter of principle," the Chinese ambassador to the UN said on Friday, adding that his nation still prefers a low-key approach in confronting Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Ambassador Wang Guangya told reporters that he did not want the Security Council to be used to put pressure on Iran, but instead to support the International Atomic Energy as it tries to defuse the standoff over Iran's suspect nuclear program.

"I think, as a matter of principle, China never supports sanctions as a way of exercising pressure because it is always the people that would be hurt," Wang said.

Wang's comments came as the International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-nation board today debated whether to refer Iran to the Security Council, which has the power to impose legally binding sanctions against a nation.

The United States and several European countries want the council to play an active role as a way to exert pressure on Iran. But Russia and China, allies of Iran, have said they envision the council having far less involvement.

Iran, which claims its program is peaceful and aimed only at generating electricity, has repeatedly warned that getting the Security Council involved would provoke it into doing exactly what the world wants it to renounce— starting full-scale uranium enrichment— as well as curtailing IAEA inspections.

"I think the best way we still have time to work for is to make all sides to be flexible to work out this diplomatic solution," Wang said. "We believe that now it is not the council that should exert its responsibility, it's still the IAEA.

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 01:55 IST