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China: Don't refer Iran to U.N.

From CNN Correspondent Kasra Naji

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Zhaoxing: "China will oppose the transfer of this file to the Security Council."
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China will oppose any effort to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council.
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TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- China will oppose any effort to refer Iran to the U.N. Security Council over the issue of Tehran's nuclear program, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has said.

Zhaoxing, who arrived in Tehran for a two-day visit Saturday, said China believes the issue should be dealt with by the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Zhaoxing said he has discussed the issue with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

"I also told these colleagues that, to my knowledge, Iran is having a pretty good cooperation with the IAEA," he said.

"And I also opened my mind to them that according to my reading of the pictures, according to my analysis, to bring the matter to the Security Council will only make the issue more complicated and more complex than necessary and more difficult to work out."

Iranian Foreign Minister Kmal Kharazi, speaking at a news conference with Zhaoxing, said there was no reason to refer Iran to the Security Council since Iran has cooperated fully with the IAEA.

"As the (Chinese) minister has clearly mentioned, China will oppose the transfer of this file to the Security Council, as it is a matter for the IAEA Board of Governors," Kharazi said.

The Chinese foreign minister's statement is a boost to Iran's position. Tehran is engaged in talks with Britain, France and Germany over the international community's demand that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment activities.

Iran is hoping China will use its veto power at the Security Council.

Iran is eager to step up trade with China. It signed a preliminary agreement for the export of gas to China for 25 years. It also has offered China a concession to develop oil and gas fields in the Persian Gulf.


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