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Clinton: New START Pact Could Boost China Support For Iran Sanctions

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the new nuclear disarmament treaty signed this week by the United States and Russia could help strengthen Chinese support for sanctions against Iran over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

Clinton, in an appearance on April 9 at the University of Louisville in the state of Kentucky, said China has "become convinced over the last month" of the need for action on Iran's nuclear program.

She said the new START pact between Moscow and Washington -- signed on April 8 in Prague by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev -- could help persuade other nations to support what she called "serious" sanctions against Tehran and possibly force Iran to step back from its nuclear pursuit.

"If you're sitting in Iran and you see the absolute commitment of the international community to prevent this from happening and actions are taken to interfere with your financing and banking system, to go after groups and individuals who play a role in the nuclear program, to figure out ways to try to impinge on your energy sector or your arms flow --  you know, it begins, you begin to pay a cost, and I don't think Iran wants to be North Korea," Clinton said.

China's ambassador to the United Nations on April 8 joined envoys from Britain, France, Russia, the United States, and Germany to discuss a U.S. draft resolution for a fourth round of UN sanctions on Iran for failing to halt uranium enrichment activities that Western countries fear could be diverted toward a nuclear bomb.

China has resisted previous calls for new sanctions against Iran, with Beijing saying it prefers more negotiations with Tehran.

The new U.S.-Russian START pact calls for cuts of hundreds of strategic nuclear weapons by the two countries, reducing their current stockpiles by around 30 percent.

compiled from agency reports

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