China state paper warns of Iran conflict

By REUTERS
November 9, 2011 05:40

 
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BEIJING - Confrontation between Iran and the West over Tehran's nuclear plans is reaching "white hot" levels that could trigger a military attack, a Chinese state newspaper said, after a UN report that is likely to increase pressure on Beijing to curb ties.

The overseas edition of the People's Daily spelled out the fears facing Chinese policy-makers, caught between their demand for Iranian oil and worries that Washington and its allies will demand harsher sanctions against Tehran, even risk military action, after the International Atomic Energy Agency concluded Tehran appears to have worked on designing an atomic weapon.

"It is clear that contention between the various sides over the Iranian nuclear issue has reached white hot levels and could even be on the precipice of a showdown," said a front-page commentary in the newspaper on Wednesday.

If Tehran refuses to back down in the face of growing US conviction that it is developing nuclear weapons, "the risks of war will grow," said the paper, noting reports that Israel could consider a military strike on Iranian nuclear sites.

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