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Xi welcomes talks on Iran nuclear issue
Publication Date : 13-09-2013
Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday he welcomed Iran's openness to begin talks with world powers over its nuclear programme and said he respects the country's legal rights concerning nuclear energy.
Chinese observers said the new Iranian government is showing more flexibility in resolving issues related to its nuclear programme but that Teheran will by no means suspend its right to the civilian use of nuclear energy.
Xi made the remarks in talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first meeting between the two since they took office earlier this year. The two leaders are in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek to attend a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit on Friday.
The meeting comes two days after Rouhani said Iran is ready to strike a deal over its nuclear programme during negotiations he proposed in New York, where he is slated to attend the United Nations General Assembly this month.
The Iranian president said the upcoming negotiations over the nation's nuclear programme should lead to a "win-win" outcome.
During Thursday's meeting, Xi said he expects "relevant parties to focus on promoting practical dialogue, seek a mutually beneficial solution and consolidate the momentum of peaceful settlement".
Xi added that China respects Iran's "justified and lawful rights and interests" and insists that issues with Iran's nuclear programme be solved through dialogue and negotiations.
He also promised Rouhani that Beijing will make a "constructive effort" to promote peace and progress in talks over Iran's nuclear programme,
Rouhani told Xi his country is developing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and that the programme is within the framework of international law and the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Western countries have long charged that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons.
"Iran would like to accept supervision from the International Atomic Energy Agency and to eliminate worries from international society through cooperation," said Rouhani in a news release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Rouhani, who said he welcomes China's constructive role in promoting peace, noted that the relationship between Iran and China is "very important" and that it "bears vital significance for Asia and the sensitive Middle East issue".
He said Iran is willing to work with China on various initiatives and issues, such as trade, and to open channels of communication on regional affairs.
The press release also said that Xi and Rouhani discussed the situation in Syria, without giving more details. Iran and Syria, both major regional players, have forged close ties.
Both China and Iran have said they object to military strikes on Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons.
The last round of talks on the Iranian nuclear programme between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany took place in April in Kazakhstan, before Rouhani's election. Each nation has expressed the desire to continue talks soon.
"Since President Rouhani took office in August, he has shown a flexible diplomacy in nuclear talks," said Wu Sike, China's envoy to the Middle East. "But Iran will never change its stance on the nuclear issue and will stick to its right to use nuclear technology peacefully and raise its capability to use nuclear energy."
Dong Manyuan, a researcher at the China Institute of International Studies, said Teheran will "firmly implement the nuclear plan despite international pressure".
"Now the Rouhani government is on one side, insisting on its rights to the peaceful use of nuclear energy, while the other side wants Iran to seek (international) acceptance and recognition of it," Dong said.
Mo Jingxi in Beijing contributed to this story.