China move threatens to delay Iran sanctions

By Harvey Morris in New York
Financial Times
January 17, 2010

Western diplomats have warned that tougher sanctions against Iran could be months away after China stalled efforts to put a new package of measures before the United Nations security council.

A three-hour meeting between the five permanent members of the security council and Germany in New York on Saturday was inconclusive.

The meeting was the first of its kind since Tehran missed a deadline to respond to a package of incentives offered in October by western nations in exchange for Iran halting uranium enrichment.

Russia and China have in the past been blamed for blocking efforts to tighten sanctions on Iran.

Russia has moved closer to the western position on Iran and now appears more willing to sign on to further sanctions. Western diplomats had hoped China might follow suit.

Senior officials from the US, Russia, Britain, France and Germany arranged Saturday’s session to fit the timetable of He Yafei, Chinese vice-minister for foreign affairs, only to have him pull out because of “scheduling issues”.

The article continues at FT.

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