China's envoy to the United Nations has urged the international community to boost diplomatic efforts to end the nuclear standoff with Iran.
Wang Guangya said the time may not be right to act "especially if the council is thinking of taking tougher measures in the sanctions area".
Iran is currently reviewing a "time out" or pause proposal to stop its uranium enrichment programme, and officials are in talks with the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog.
Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, and Javier Solana, the EU foreign policy chief, have reviewed a proposal for a pause but no results were reported.
Earlier Mohamed ElBaradei, the IAEA director, had proposed a "double suspension" involving a complete end to enrichment and lifting UN sanctions at the same time.
"I think if somebody is thinking of circulating a sanctions resolution at this moment, when ElBaradei and Mr Solana are conducting negotiations, [it] is not helpful," said Wang.
He said although Iran had the right to "enjoy the peaceful uses of nuclear technology", some kind of a "freeze" was necessary because "there are some suspicions of its nature".
Wang said senior officials of the five permanent council members with veto power – US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany – had had telephone conferences but no decision has been made.
"My understanding is that they will call each other again, but the main idea of the six is to continue to promote the diplomatic initiative," he said.
"We do believe that we have to reinvigorate this IAEA discussion and also the EU-3's negotiations with the Iranians," he added, referring to the British, French and German efforts led by Solana.
The Security Council has already imposed two sets of sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.
Last week the IAEA announced plans to send inspectors to Tehran aimed at clearing up continuing suspicions about Iran's uranium enrichment activities.
The US and its European allies have started discussing a third round of tougher sanctions against Iran but China's opposition signals a tough fight ahead.
The US has proposed inspection of cargo en route to and from Iran for any illicit shipments while Britain has advocated denying landing and transit rights for Iranian airlines and ships, and freezing overseas assets of some Iranian banks.
Tehran insists its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes only and aimed solely at meeting its energy needs.
Last Mod: 04 Temmuz 2007, 10:18