LONDON Feb 9 China has told Britain it is
determined to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons, British Foreign
Secretary David Miliband said on Tuesday.
Russia sent its strongest signal yet on Tuesday that it
could back a fourth set of U.N. sanctions over Iran's nuclear
programme. But China -- one of the E3+3 powers dealing with the
Iranian nuclear issue -- has argued that discussions about
sanctions might make it harder to find a diplomatic solution.
Iran's announcement that it would further expand its nuclear
programme has increased pressure from the United States and
other Western powers for tougher sanctions.
Miliband said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had
assured him of China's determination to prevent Iran obtaining
nuclear weapons when they talked on the sidelines of a London
conference on Afghanistan on Jan. 28.
"He insisted to me that the Chinese were absolutely
committed to the goal that unites the E3+3 as well as the wider
U.N. and that is to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear
weapons state," he told reporters.
"It's very, very important that we therefore maintain
maximum unity in developing the tactics to deliver on that
goal," he said.
Western countries accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear
weapons but Iran says it only wants peaceful nuclear power.
The Islamic Republic said on Sunday it would enrich uranium
to 20 percent purity for a reactor making isotopes for cancer
patients. Analysts say the step could give Iran expertise useful
for weapons production.
Demonstrators, who took to the streets after Iran's disputed
election last June, were "not demonstrating for the destruction
of Israel, they are not demonstrating for building nuclear
enrichment sites. They are demonstrating about the sort of
country that they live in," Miliband said.
(Editing by Ralph Boulton)
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(Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by)