China has announced it is sending a senior official to Iran for talks on the country's nuclear program.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on February 10 that Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu will visit Iran on February 12-13 to exchange views with the Iranian side.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told reporters that "dialogue and cooperation is the only right way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue."
The visit comes after the United States and the European Union recently stepped up sanctions aimed at discouraging Iran's nuclear program.
The sanctions target Iran's oil industry and Central Bank.
China is a top buyer of Iranian oil, taking some 20 percent of Tehran's crude exports, and Beijing has refused to back calls for new United Nations sanctions against the country.
Compiled from agency reports