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China Urges Iran To Do More On Nuclear Standoff

China's Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu

China's Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu

China has urged Iran to do more to end the standoff over its disputed nuclear program.

Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu called on Iran to work more closely with the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Ma is in Iran on a two-day visit focusing on Iran's nuclear program, which the West suspects is being used to develop nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.

Ma said he was to "candidly discuss" the nuclear issue with the deputy secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Baqeri.

The visit comes after the United States and the European Union recently stepped up sanctions aimed at discouraging Iran's nuclear program.

In late January, major powers signaled their willingness to resume talks but demanded Tehran show it is serious about any negotiations.

The group, known as the P5+1, includes Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the United States.

Compiled from agency reports