China says opposed to US sanctions against Iran

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BEIJING, Oct 26 (Reuters) China indicated today it opposed the latest U.S. economic sanctions on Iran, warning that what it called rash steps could ''complicate'' the nuclear standoff with Tehran.

Washington announced the new sanctions yesterday, accusing Tehran's Revolutionary Guard of spreading weapons of mass destruction. Now Beijing has joined Moscow in voicing opposition to the move.

''China has always been opposed to imposing sanctions too rashly in international relations,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a short statement published on the ministry's Web site (www.fmprc.gov.cn). ''It can only make the situation more complicated,'' he said.

Beijing's comments came after Russian President Vladimir Putin said such moves only forced Tehran into a corner over its nuclear programme, and added to international worries that the White House had begun a march to war.

Accusing Iran's Qods force, a special Revolutionary Guard unit, of supporting terrorism, Washington slapped sanctions on more than 20 Iranian companies, banks and individuals as well as the Defence Ministry, hoping to increase pressure on Tehran to stop uranium enrichment and curb its ''terrorist'' activities.

The moves were controversial in Washington as well as abroad.

Talk of US military action against Iran has intensified in recent months, particularly from some conservatives who would like to see President George W Bush act against Tehran before he leaves office in January 2009.

REUTERS SS KP1838

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