An upcoming meeting by five world powers on trying to curb Iran's nuclear program has been canceled on China's request, senior officials from three of the countries involved said Monday.
One of the officials said China cited scheduling problems in asking for the cancellation, and the five now plan to talk by conference call.
The official said China seemed to have genuine problems in attending the meeting in Brussels or outside the Copenhagen climate summit and did not appear to be seeking to delay it. Still, the development was a setback in efforts to present a unified front on Iran in the face of continued Iranian defiance on its nuclear program.
Because it relies on Teheran for gas and oil, China is the weakest link in international attempts to punish Iran for defying a UN Security Council demand that it stop enriching uranium, a process that can make both nuclear fuel and the fissile core of warheads.