Ahmedinejad in China after about-face on sanctions

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
June 11, 2010 08:49
1 minute read.

 
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SHANGHAI  — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Shanghai on Friday two days after China yielded to international pressure to back new nuclear sanctions against Tehran.

Ahmedinejad is in China to tour the World Expo and was expected to speak later Friday.

Ahmadinejad was not scheduled to meet with Chinese leaders while in China. He also skipped Thursday's summit in Uzbekistan of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which was attended by Chinese president Hu Jintao. Iran is an observer in that group.

As a permanent member of the Security Council and key Iranian ally, China could have exercised its veto power to block the sanctions. But it reversed its earlier opposition out of frustration with Tehran's intransigence and a desire to avoid becoming isolated over the issue, analysts said.

China's Foreign Ministry said Thursday its support for fresh sanctions should not block efforts to find a diplomatic solution, and called for renewed attempts to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.

Details of negotiations with China over the sanctions are unknown. But Beijing appeared to be satisfied that the sanctions would not harm its economic ties with Iran, with whom bilateral trade reached at least $36.5 billion last year. Iran meets 11 percent of China's energy needs and Chinese companies have major investments in Iranian energy extraction projects and the construction of roads, bridges and power plants.

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