China Opposes Iran Sanctions Sought by U.S.

Andrew Jacobs of the New York Times reports that China will not support Iran sanctions:

China will not support increased sanctions on Iran as a way to curb its nuclear program, a government spokeswoman said Thursday.

Although China has generally opposed the use of sanctions, the announcement is sure to complicate President Obama’s efforts to impose tougher penalties on Iran, should international talks over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, scheduled for Oct. 1, fail to make headway.

“We always believe that sanctions and pressure are not the way out,” said Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry spokeswoman, during a news conference. “At present, it is not conducive to diplomatic efforts.”

The decision may come as a surprise to some. In a press briefing two days ago, a U.S. senior administration official stated that while he would not comment on the response of the Chinese to the Iran nuclear issue, the U.S. position was very clear:

President [Obama] was forceful in the presentation on Iran. I don’t believe there could be any mistake in the meeting about whether this was a run of the mill issue. So there’s no doubt in my mind that the Chinese understood how important this issue was to the United States and to the President. I have no doubt of that.

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