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China urges Iran to respond to nuclear offer

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Beijing, June 29: China today urged Iran to quickly respond to an international offer of incentives aimed at defusing a dispute over its nuclear programmes.

Tehran has said it would respond by the end of August to the package put forward by Germany and the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council.

''We hope Iran can attach importance to the concerns of the international community and respond to the package as soon as possible,'' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Jiang Yu told a news conference.

''Other parties should remain patient and restrained ... so as to create favourable conditions for the resumption of talks.'' The United States has accused Iran of having a secret programme to build nuclear weapons. Tehran denies the charge, saying its nuclear programme is solely for power generation.

Germany's defence minister said in an interview with Reuters this week that Iran should be allowed to enrich uranium for power generation under close monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Jiang said China had noted the comments, and repeated Beijing's stance that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to the peaceful use of nuclear power.

''But they also have to honour the corresponding obligations and commitments,'' she added.

Iran is China's third-largest supplier of crude oil imports, and Beijing has long advocated dialogue, rather than penalties, to resolve the stand-off.

Reuters

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