Ya’alon and Fischer off to prod China on Teheran

Team to discuss Iran sanctions; Ahmadinejad: We'll cut off attackers' hands.

Yaalon. (photo credit:  Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A high-level delegation headed by Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon which includes Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer is to leave for China Wednesday in an effort to get Beijing to back sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council.
The delegation is scheduled to hold talks in Beijing with Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo.
“We are going to discuss a number of issues, bilateral, regional and international, and the nuclear issue is supposed to be one of them,” said Guy Kivetz, a spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Beijing.
Alon Arnon, a spokesman for Ya’alon, said Iran will be “among the issues.”
China wants “peace and stability” in the Middle East and “a comprehensive and proper resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means,” Qin Gang, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters in Beijing.
Fischer told an economic conference in Tel Aviv Tuesday that China’s currency policy was causing “imbalances.” He said there was “a problem that in the international economy there is no one who has the authority to force changes in the exchange rate of a country and this causes a great deal of risk in the international financial system. I am talking about China.”
With Russia showing signs of softening its position regarding sanctions, China – hugely dependent on Iranian oil – remains the only permanent UN Security Council member resisting further sanctions, and Israel is keen on ensuring that China not use its veto in the Security Council to scuttle the sanctions.
On Saturday, Ambassador to the US Michael Oren revealed that as part of Jerusalem’s ongoing efforts to derail the Iranian nuclear weapons program, an Israeli delegation will be sent to Beijing.
“We are not too late,” Oren said in an interview with Channel 10. “We are in the thick of the process, both on the security and international fronts. Soon, an Israeli delegation will travel to China, but the big question is whether the Chinese will take part in this battle over sanctions.”
This is the highest-level delegation to go to China for talks since Kadima MK Tzahi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, went there in October as head of a delegation from his committee for discussions with Chinese officials that, among other issues, also dealt with Iran.
Dennis Ross, a key player in the White House dealing with the Iranian dossier, also traveled there late last year and, according to a Washington Post article, tried to get the Chinese to help stop the Iranian nuclear program by arguing that if it wasn’t stopped, Israel would likely attack, something that would lead to a crisis that would severely damage China’s critical oil supply.
Meanwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned Tuesday that Iran would cut off the hands of anyone who attacks the country.
“No power can harm Iran... The Iranian nation will chop off the hands from the arm of any attacker from any part of the world,” Ahmadinejad said in a televised speech in eastern Khorasan-e Jonubi province, according to a Reuters translation.
Bloomberg contributed to this report.