BEIJING, Feb 23 (Reuters) There is still scope to defuse a deepening international crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitions within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing was quoted as saying.
Li appealed to the international community to be calm, restrained and patient and to show flexibility for a resumption of nuclear negotiations between Europe and Iran, the official Xinhua news agency said in an overnight report.
''The days before the March 6 meeting of the IAEA are crucial,'' Xinhua quoted Li as saying after meeting visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Iran recently announced it was restarting enrichment work but insists it is interested only in civilian nuclear power.
The United States and the European Union suspect Iran's programme is aimed at eventually making atomic weapons.
The United States and the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany may refer Iran to the UN Security Council for sanctions after a March 6 meeting of the U.N. nuclear watchdog reports on Iran.
China is opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and advocates safeguarding the seriousness of the international non-proliferation system, Li said, adding that China hopes to properly resolve Iran's nuclear issue through diplomatic means.
On Tuesday, China urged Iran to suspend all uranium enrichment, which can produce fuel for power plants or weapons, in its boldest call yet for Tehran to accept US and EU demands.
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