China unlikely to accept Iran invite to tour nukes

Iran has invited Russia, China and Hungary to tour nuclear sites; Catherine Ashton rejects offer, says inspections are IAEA's job.

January 13, 2011 13:03
1 minute read.
 Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping

Chinese president and vice president 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

BEIJING  — China said it is unlikely to take up Iran's recent offer to tour its nuclear facilities.

Iran has invited Russia, China and Hungary, which currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency, to tour the sites this month. Other countries that have been more critical of Iran — like the US, Britain, France and Germany — were not invited.

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Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told reporters Thursday that it would difficult for China's nuclear envoy to visit Iran.

The EU has already indicated it will not go; Russia has not yet decided.

Iran's facilities are considered suspect by the West because they could be used to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads, and Tehran's refusal to shut them down has triggered UN Security Council sanctions.

On Tuesday China confirmed it had received an invitation to tour Iran's nuclear sites but did not immediately say if it would send anyone.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news conference that Beijing had received an invitation and was in communication with Iran.

Hong said China hopes the dispute over Iran's nuclear program would be resolved through dialogue.

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