China Blocks Iran Sanctions

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JERUSALEM, Israel - China will not commit its backing of the fourth round of U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran's nuclear armaments program.

China has made itself unavailable for a conference call, which the Bush administration has been trying to arrange for more than a week, according to The Associated Press.

On October 6, a letter from Iran's top nuclear envoy to the six permanent members of the Security Council -- the U.S., Germany, Britain, France, Russia and China -- complained of the West's attitude toward the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian official claims their nuclear aspirations are strictly energy and not weaponry related.

China's latest balking is attributed to a recent announcement by the Bush administration of a $6.5 billion sale of advanced weaponry to Taiwan.

China, which views Taiwan as a renegade province, was infuriated, responding to the announcement by canceling several planned military exchanges with the U.S.

Before the Taiwan arms sale was announced, Russia also sought to block further sanctions against Iran in purported retaliation of U.S. and European criticism of its invasion of Georgia.

In the end, Russia agreed to the most recent Security Council resolution, which merely restated previous sanctions without adding anything new.

Both Russia and China have used their seats on the Security Council to block or dilute sanctions against Iran's nuclear program, though they've been slightly more supportive of sanctions against North Korea's nuclear arms program.

Source: The Associated Press

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