China Rejects New Iran Sanctions

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BEIJING - China has rejected a revised proposal for new sanctions against Iran called for by key Western nations.

"We've been making diplomatic efforts and we believe they have not been exhausted, and we will continue to work with other parties to push for a settlement to this issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said.

The new, tougher sanctions would target the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guard and freeze assets of companies linked to weapons programs and impose travel bans, among other measures.

Western nations supporting tougher sanctions include the U.S., Britain and France, while Russia, which like China has dragged its feet, may be willing to endorse the new measures.

China, which counts on Iran for a big part of its energy needs, is the only permanent member of the United Nations Security Council opposing the new round of tougher sanctions.

Each of the five permanent members of the Security Council has veto power so China has the ability to block the sanctions. Some analysts believe China will likely abstain rather than block the other four permanent members outright.

According to Qin, China will try to convince Iran to resume talks on its nuclear programs.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently announced an upgrade in the country's uranium enrichment program, which most experts believe will allow them to produce nuclear weapons before much longer.

Western nations would like to see new sanctions in place before May when the five-year review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty will be reviewed at UN headquarters in New York.

AP contributed to this report.

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