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China Says Talks Are Way Forward On Iran Nuclear Issue

China's Ambassador to the UN, Li Baodong, speaks with U.S. envoy Susan Rice at a Security Council meeting on March 17.
China has called for dialogue to resolve the international standoff over Iran's nuclear program.

State news agency Xinhua reports China reiterating its long-held position that Tehran is entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

The agency quoted Li Baodong, the Chinese ambassador to the United Nations, as saying at a UN Security Council meeting that "China believes as long as all sides remain patient, flexible and pragmatic and take proactive measures to enhance mutual confidence, dialogue and negotiation will make headway."

The meeting was held to discuss a quarterly report on Iran's compliance with four rounds of UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Tehran for refusing to halt a uranium-enrichment program that Western powers fear is aimed at producing bombs or developing a nuclear-weapons capability.

Tehran has consistently said its nuclear program is purely civilian, but the UN nuclear watchdog has criticized it for nuclear nondisclosure and said it can't be certain Iran's atomic efforts are not military in nature.

compiled from Reuters reports