February 9, 2010 / 7:51 PM / 10 years ago

China determined to stop Iran getting nukes - Miliband

LONDON (Reuters) - China has told Britain it is determined to stop Iran getting nuclear weapons, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Tuesday.

Russia sent its strongest signal yet on Tuesday that it could back a fourth set of U.N. sanctions over Iran’s nuclear programme. But China — one of the E3+3 powers dealing with the Iranian nuclear issue — has argued that discussions about sanctions might make it harder to find a diplomatic solution.

Iran’s announcement that it would further expand its nuclear programme has increased pressure from the United States and other Western powers for tougher sanctions.

Miliband said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had assured him of China’s determination to prevent Iran obtaining nuclear weapons when they talked on the sidelines of a London conference on Afghanistan on January 28.

“He insisted to me that the Chinese were absolutely committed to the goal that unites the E3+3 as well as the wider U.N. and that is to ensure that Iran does not become a nuclear weapons state,” he told reporters.

“It’s very, very important that we therefore maintain maximum unity in developing the tactics to deliver on that goal,” he said.

Western countries accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons but Iran says it only wants peaceful nuclear power.

The Islamic Republic said on Sunday it would enrich uranium to 20 percent purity for a reactor making isotopes for cancer patients. Analysts say the step could give Iran expertise useful for weapons production.

Demonstrators, who took to the streets after Iran’s disputed election last June, were “not demonstrating for the destruction of Israel, they are not demonstrating for building nuclear enrichment sites. They are demonstrating about the sort of country that they live in,” Miliband said.

(Editing by Ralph Boulton)

Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by

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