Last updated: 6 June, 2012

China’s Wen tells Iran: no nuclear arms in the Middle East

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday told the visiting Iranian president that Beijing opposes any Middle Eastern country seeking to acquire nuclear weapons, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

“China opposes any Middle East country’s push to acquire nuclear weapons and upholds that the Iranian nuclear issue should be addressed through diplomatic channels in an impartial way,” Wen told Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation regional grouping.

The West believes Iran is trying to develop an atomic bomb under cover of a civilian programme although Tehran insists its intentions are purely peaceful.

Last month, six world powers — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany — confronted Tehran over its intention to enrich uranium.

But Russia and China have both resisted Western sanctions imposed on Tehran over its nuclear programme, with China one of the biggest buyers of Iranian oil.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is also visiting China, said Wednesday that further sanctions on Iran would be “counter-productive”.

Russia is preparing to host the latest round of talks between world powers and Iranian negotiators later this month in a bid to find a diplomatic solution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme.