Washington had hoped that Moscow was warming to the idea of tougher sanctions after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said they were sometimes inevitable. But ever since, the Russians have been backtracking from that remark, saying threats of such measures are unhelpful in negotiations with Iran. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in Beijing on Wednesday that talking about sanctions was “premature.”
Wen’s remarks Thursday appeared to suggest that Beijing is also unlikely to accept any new U.N. sanctions resolution. China and Russia are both veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council and have long defended Tehran by watering down resolutions.