Iran’s top nuclear official is holding talks in China amid signs Beijing may have relaxed its opposition to a new round of UN sanctions against Tehran.
The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said China was ready to hold “serious” talks with Western powers on a new UN resolution.
This would mark a policy shift for China, which has strong ties with Iran. China says it wants a peaceful outcome.
Western powers claim Iran seeks nuclear weapons, a charge Tehran denies.
China has in the past expressed reluctance to see new sanctions imposed, and as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, along with France, the US, the UK, and Russia, it has the power to veto such a move.
US President Barack Obama, meanwhile, has said he hopes to have sanctions in place “within weeks”.
‘Tough sanctions regime’
Beijing made the commitment to talks in a phone call on Wednesday, US officials told the Associated Press news agency.
Ms Rice said the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China had agreed to begin drafting a UN resolution on Iran’s nuclear programme.