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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran's top nuclear negotiator to visit China Jan. 17-18

RIA Novosti

16/01/2008 16:16 TEHRAN, January 16 (RIA Novosti) - Iran's top nuclear negotiator will visit China on January 17-18, ahead of next week's Iran Six talks on possible new sanctions against the Islamic Republic, an Iranian news agency said Wednesday.

During his two-day visit, Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, will meet with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and other high-ranking officials to discuss bilateral relations and the Iranian nuclear program, the IRNA news agency reported.

His visit comes days before a planned meeting of foreign ministers from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany in Berlin next Tuesday to discuss possible new sanctions against Iran.

Two sets of UN Security Council sanctions are currently in place against Tehran over its refusal to halt uranium enrichment, which can be used in both electricity generation and weapons production. A further round of more stringent sanctions has so far been blocked by China and Russia.

Russian and Chinese opposition to new sanctions stiffened further following the release of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which said Iran stopped working on a secret nuclear weapons program as far back as in 2003.

However, U.S. President George W. Bush said last week during his visit to the Middle East that until Tehran halts uranium enrichment, the Islamic Republic remains a "threat to world peace."

Iran insists that it needs nuclear energy for electricity generation and not for weapons production and has pledged to clear up all remaining questions over its nuclear program by late February.

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