'China must stop trying to buy time on Iran sanctions'

Knesset Speaker Rivlin tells Chinese Ambassador: In 1936 the world waited to act against Hitler, and you know how that ended.

November 10, 2011 16:39
3 minute read.
Likud MK Reuven Rivlin

Rivlin 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin called China’s announcement that it will further study the IAEA report before deciding whether or not to sanction Iran a “bluff,” during a Thursday meeting with Chinese ambassador to Israel Gao Yanping.

China’s Foreign Ministry said that sanction on Iran cannot “fundamentally” resolve the Iran nuclear dispute, following publication of a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that the Islamic Republic is designing an atomic weapon.

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“We always believe that dialogue and cooperation is the right way to solve the Iranian nuclear issue. Sanctions cannot fundamentally solve the issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

The spokesman continue by saying that “diplomatic efforts” were now the pressing task for the parties involved.

Rivlin responded to the statement by China with skepticism.

“I heard the Chinese stance that there is no need for a reaction to Iran’s nuclear arms, because they must learn the subject,” he said. “This attempt to buy time, when there is no time, is just a bluff.”


“China is close to becoming a super-power. We believe that if China joins the sanctions against Iran, it will have an influence,” Rivlin explained to Gao.

In the past, Beijing has said that sanctions are not a “fundamental” answer, but ultimately voted for UN Security Council resolutions imposing sanctions in Iran for nuclear activities.

“Israel faces calls for its destruction again and again, and this time it is not said behind closed doors, but on the stage of the UN,” Rivlin stated. “Iran announced that it does not accept the existence of a Jewish state in the Land of Israel.”

“I am not speaking as a diplomat. I am expressing the fears of Israelis, the fears of the Jewish people. China must understand that Israel is being threatened.”

Rivlin also said “Israel will have to act” if faced with an imminent Iranian threat.

“Taking care of Iranian nuclear weapons is the whole free world’s responsibility, and not that of Israel,” he explained. “However, we cannot stand silently before our enemies.”

“If Israel faces an imminent threat, it will have to act. That is our duty. Israel cannot leave everything up to the heavens,” the Knesset speaker stated.

Rivlin told Gao that “the Chinese cannot continue to be on the fence – they must choose a side.”

The Chinese ambassador told Rivlin that her country is “very responsible. Our stance on the Iranian matter is well-known: We oppose nuclear arms.”

“The Chinese government is researching the [IAEA] report,” Gao added. “We will study its findings and make the correct decision.”

In response, Rivlin pointed out that “in 1936, the world decided to wait and participated in the Berlin Olympics, and met Hitler. Everyone knows how that ended.

“China has connections with Iran, and Iran needs to trade with China no less than China needs Iranian oil,” the Knesset speaker said. “As long as Iran isn’t hurt economically, as long as it is not hit with paralyzing sanctions, it has no reason to stop developing nuclear weapons.”

Rivlin said that China must be willing to use its veto power in the UN Security Council, so that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not be free to act as he pleases.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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