Monday, August 15, 2005

Iran has reasons to count on China

China’s opposition to taking the Iranian nuclear crisis to the UN Security Council is largely driven by their long-term oil relationship, sparked in part by the US occupation of Iraq, analysts say.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gholamali Khoshroo is currently in Beijing to explain Tehran’s position on resuming uranium conversion activities at a plant in Isfahan, which has caused an international outcry.

The move prompted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to set a September 3 date for a report on Iran’s compliance, which could lead to a possible referral to the Security Council for sanctions, such as a ban on oil sales. China, a nuclear power and one of the Security Council’s five permanent veto-wielding members, has made it clear it does not want the issue before the UN body.

“It would not be helpful. We all want a peaceful solution to the Iranian issue. So I think the best place is the efforts between the EU (European Union) and (the) Iranians or the IAEA,” China’s UN ambassador Wang Guangya said this week.

“The council has too many things on the table. Why should we add more?” Beijing’s stance is partly because it has a policy of not interfering in other countries internal affairs, driven by the fact that it does not want similar outside interference in its own domestic matters.

But mostly it is down to economic interests, in particular oil which China needs to keep firing its remarkable economic transformation, experts said.

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