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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

China key to additional sanctions against Iran - Russian expert

RIA Novosti

21:05 16/12/2009 MOSCOW, December 16 (RIA Novosti) - Any Western sanctions against Iran could be rendered ineffective by China, a Russian analyst said on Wednesday.

In an interview with RIA Novosti, Vladimir Yevseyev, a senior research associate at the Russian Academy of Sciences World Economics and International Relations Institute, opined that the United States' latest move to deter Tehran from pursuing its nuclear program would be useless without China's involvement.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill imposing sanctions on companies supplying gasoline to Iran.

"If China does not join in, that will be ineffective," Yevseyev said.

He added that if the United States and other Western countries completely pulled out of Iran's market, Beijing would easily make up for the difference.

"Even if the West stops gasoline supplies, I don't think that would be critical - everything depends on China, while China is now carefully weighing up and analyzing all options."

Iran, which is already under three sets of United Nations sanctions for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, recently announced plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment facilities. Tehran insists it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity, while Western powers suspect it of pursuing an atomic weapons program.

Asked whether further sanctions were possible, Yevseyev said they "could realistically be imposed in February."

"First, because Libya holds the rotating presidency of the UN until February 1, and second, because a deadline has been set for Iran - until the end of the year."

However, he stressed: "That is, unless China wields its veto power."

During a UN Security Council meeting last Thursday, the United States, Britain and France warned Iran that they were likely to push for new sanctions early next year if it refused to halt its nuclear program.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany are working together to peacefully resolve international concerns over Iran's nuclear program. During their last meeting on November 20 in Brussels, political directors or deputy foreign ministers from the six powers urged Iran to agree to a UN-backed uranium enrichment scheme.

The IAEA in November censured Iran for withholding information on its nuclear program. The UN's nuclear watchdog also urged Iran to freeze construction of its newly revealed uranium enrichment facility near the city of Qom.

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