China: Iran sanctions 'not the way out'

China speaks out against

China believes sanctions on Iran "are not the way out," Bloomberg quoted a government spokeswoman as saying in Beijing on Thursday. "At present, it is not conducive to diplomatic efforts," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told reporters. The joint statement at the UN that China signed "emphasized the resolution of the issue through dialogue and negotiation and getting the Iranian nuclear issue back to the track of dialogue." The five permanent members of the UN Security Council - China, Russia, the UK, France and the US - and Germany will meet with Iranian representatives on October 1 for the first time in more than a year in an attempt to reduce tensions over Teheran's refusal to curb nuclear activities. Iran says it wants to use enrichment technology to create nuclear fuel, but there are international fears that it seeks to develop it to reconfigure its program and make the fissile core of warheads. Ahead of the negotiations, the foreign ministers of the six nations met Wednesday on the sidelines of the General Assembly to discuss how to get Iran to stop uranium enrichment. Russian news agencies cited an official in the Russian delegation as saying Moscow does not rule out new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Also Wednesday, with a diplomatic wink and nod, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev opened the door to backing potential sanctions against Iran as a reward to US President Barack Obama's decision to scale back a US missile shield in Eastern Europe. While US and Russian officials denied a flat-out quid pro quo, Medvedev told the UN General Assembly that Obama's pivot on a missile defense plan long loathed by Moscow "deserves a positive response." Obama himself has said his missile decision may have spurred Russian good will as a "bonus." "We believe we need to help Iran to take a right decision," Medvedev said after the two leaders met on the sidelines of the UN assembly. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said Medvedev opened the door to a firm international stand against Iran. Ayalon told The Associated Press on Thursday that Russia's new stand "may be the day that marks the beginning of the United Nations and the people gathering together to stop the Iranians." In related news, the Financial Times on Wednesday reported that Chinese state companies began supplying gasoline to Iran earlier in September and now provide up to one-third of its imports. The Sino-Iranian deal may undermine US-led efforts to shut off the supply of fuel on which Iran's economy depends. Iran has large reserves of crude oil but its refining capacity is minimal.