BEIJING, Aug 15 -- A senior Chinese diplomat flew to Teheran yesterday amid international efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear stand-off.
Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai will discuss Teheran's nuclear issue with Iranian officials and exchange views with them on other international and regional issues of common concern, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.
He made the remarks in a news release on the ministry's website early yesterday, without giving other details.
The United States has accused Iran of secretly developing nuclear weapons under a civilian front, a charge categorically denied by Teheran, which says that its nuclear programme is for peaceful purposes.
China has maintained its desire to solve the Iranian nuclear issue through political consultations and has made a series of diplomatic efforts along with the international community to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear programmes.
Cui's visit comes just one week before Teheran gives a promised response to the package of proposals drawn up by the five permanent UN Security Council members the US, Britain, China, France and Russia plus Germany.
The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on July 31, urging Teheran to "suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, including research and development" by August 31 or face the prospect of sanctions.
Due to the insistence of council members such as Russia and China, the resolution dropped the threat of immediate sanctions and required the council to hold further discussions before sanctions are considered.
Observers expect no breakthrough from Cui's latest visit to Iran in seeking a new solution to the nuclear stalemate, but believe the trip is a positive step to push forward the resolution of the issue.
The Chinese envoy may seriously admonish the Iranian side over the issue, taking into account the interests of the Iranian people, said Professor Gong Shaopeng from the China Foreign Affairs University in Beijing
"But we can't expect the trip to offer a new solution to the issue," Gong said in a telephone interview.
Iran warned on Sunday that it would withdraw from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if it is deprived of its "inalienable rights," the official IRNA news agency reported.
(Source: China Daily)