China unlikely to back more Iran sanctions

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The Independent Online

Premier Wen Jiabao says China intends to strengthen its co-operation with Iran, an indication that Beijing will oppose growing calls in the West for additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic for its nuclear programme.

The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was rebuffed in Moscow this week when she sought support for a united warning to Iran of the consequences of refusing to prove that its nuclear programme is peaceful. And Mr Wen's remarks appeared to suggest that Beijing is also unlikely to accept any new UN sanctions resolution.

China will "maintain high-level exchanges with Iran, enhance mutual understanding and trust, promote bilateral pragmatic co-operation and co-ordinate closely in international affairs," Mr Wen said yesterday.

China and Russia both hold a veto on the UN Security Council and have long defended Tehran by watering down resolutions.