China indirectly urged Iran on Tuesday not to escalate its standoff with the UN powers over Teheran's nuclear program.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said that Beijing was consulting with other members of the UN Security Council on a draft European resolution that would impose sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program.
Asked by a reporter about comments the Iranian president made Monday that Teheran would oppose any sanctions, Liu issued a muted criticism.
"We believe that under the current circumstances the relevant parties should not take any measures that may lead to the escalation of the situation," Liu said at a twice-weekly media briefing.
The conflict with Iran has placed China in a difficult position. While it wants Iranian energy supplies to fuel the Chinese economy, it also has a desire to work with the United States, which suspects Teheran's nuclear program is being used to develop weapons.