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China hails Iran-US positive efforts
September 30, 2013, 10:26 am

[Getty Images]

Tehran insists its nuclear programme is for civilian purposes only [Getty Images]

China views the recent development in US-Iran relations as a positive step for peace in the Middle East, says Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei.

“We have noticed the effort that both the United States and Iran have recently made to improve their relationship,” said Hong at a regular press conference in Beijing.

President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had a historic telephone conversation on Friday, the first leaders of their countries to speak since the Tehran hostage crisis more than three decades ago.

China said that this thaw in relations was conducive to advancing the political process for the settlement to the Iranian nuclear issue.

“This is positive for maintaining and promoting regional peace and stability,” Hong said.

Beijing has long opposed coercion in dealing with Tehran’s nuclear programme, stressing on dialogue and a negotiated settlement.

“We have played a constructive role in seeking a comprehensive, lasting and appropriate solution to the Iranian nuclear issue so as to uphold the international non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday.

China is part of the P5+1 international dialogue with Iran, which also includes Britain, France, Russia, the United States and Germany.

Beijing is also Tehran’s largest trading partner and is one of the key importers of Iranian oil, and holds a critical stake in the country’s future, dependent as it is on the oil rich country for its energy security.

Chinese President Xi Jinping offered to “make constructive efforts on advancing the Iranian nuclear talks” in a meeting with President Rouhani in Bishkek earlier this month.

While Rouhani had said that, “Iran hopes that China could continue to play a constructive role on the issue”.

Major Western powers suspect Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons through its nuclear programme, which Tehran insists is for civilian purposes only.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies