China says it opposes threatening Iran with war

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BEIJING, Sep 18 (Reuters) China is opposed to threatening Iran with war over its nuclear programme and stands for a diplomatic solution, a government spokeswoman said today.

The United States, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China have backed two rounds of UN sanctions against Iran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment and other sensitive work that could be used to make nuclear weapons.

''We believe the best option is to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations, which is in the common interests of the international community,'' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular briefing.

''We do not approve of easily resorting to threatening use of force in international affairs,'' Jiang said when asked to comment on remarks by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner raising the prospect of war with Iran.

Kouchner said on Sunday that Paris must prepare for the possibility of war with Tehran, although it was not an immediate danger.

Washington is leading a drive in the Security Council for a third sanctions resolution to punish Iran for enrichment, and White House spokesman Dana Perino said the United States was looking for a diplomatic solution.

China is one of five veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council.

Iran denies it is secretly seeking nuclear weapons, saying it only wants to generate electricity. But it has ignored U.N.

demands to suspend enrichment, and Washington has called a Sept. 21 meeting for major powers to discuss further sanctions.

REUTERS ARB HS1435

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