January 19, 2012

China Says US Sanctions on Iran ‘Ineffective’

China expressed concern Thursday over rising tensions in the Persian Gulf, saying the situation could pose problems for resolving Iran's nuclear issues.
Speaking at a regular news briefing in Beijing, foreign ministry spokesperson Liu Weimin said disagreements over Tehran's controversial nuclear program should be solved through dialogue and negotiations.
“Using sanctions, imposing pressure and threatening one another with force not only do not help solve the problem, but they would lead to further deterioration of the situation.”
Liu echoed earlier comments by Premier Wen Jiabao, who said Beijing is opposed to any “extreme action” by Iran to shut off the Strait of Hormuz.

Wen told reporters in Doha, Qatar late Wednesday that it would be not be in the interest of the global community for Iran to follow through on its threat to block the waterway, which is a key shipping lane for global oil supplies.
Tehran has threatened to close the strait in response to U.S. sanctions. Officials in Washington have said there is room for diplomacy, but warn that the United States will not allow an Iranian blockade.
China has supported U.N. sanctions on Iran, but opposes the much tougher U.S. measures.
On Wednesday, Wen said China “firmly opposes” Iran producing a nuclear weapon. But he says the issue should be resolved through “peaceful” means, saying the so-called P-five-plus-one talks are one way to do so.

The negotiations between the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council – the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China – plus Germany last took place a year ago. Iran and the United States have both hinted that the talks could soon resume, although no date has been set.
The recently enacted U.S. sanctions impose financial penalties against foreign banks that do business with Iran's central bank, which is responsible for most of its oil deals.

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