BEIJING - China criticized the European Union on Tuesday for
imposing new sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear program, calling
again for talks to resolve the stand-off.
The EU governments' sanctions
target major Iranian state companies in the oil and gas industry, and strengthen
restrictions on the central bank, cranking up pressure on the country which has
close trade ties with Beijing.
China is Iran's largest crude oil customer
and, along with Russia, has resisted putting sanctions on Tehran.
oppose the imposition of unilateral sanctions on Iran and believe that using
sanctions to exert pressure cannot fundamentally resolve the Iran nuclear
issue," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a daily news
"It can only make the situation more complex and intensify
confrontation... We hope that all relevant parties can show flexibility,
increase communication and push for a new round of talks as soon as possible."
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who represents the United States,
China, Russia, Britain, France and Germany in their on-and-off talks with Iran,
said on Monday she hoped turning up the heat on Iran would persuade it to make
concessions and that negotiations could resume "very soon."
States and its allies accuse Iran of using its atomic program as a cover to
develop nuclear weapons and have imposed increasingly stringent economic
sanctions to try to force Iran to answer questions about it.
said its program is for solely peaceful purposes.
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