China Is Not On Board For Serious Sanctions Against Iran

In the midst of its Nuclear Security Summit and in the wake of President Obama’s bilateral meeting with China’s President Hu yesterday, the Obama Administration is vigorously spinning the U.S. and Western media that it has won Chinese support for new sanctions against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear activities. To say the least, this is an exaggeration on the Obama Administration’s part, and wholly unreflective reporting on the part of those journalists who repeated the exaggeration without question or context.

In fact, China had agreed—even before President Hu arrived in Washington for the Nuclear Security Summit—to participate in discussions with other United Nations Security Council members about potential new sanctions against Iran. However, China is already indicating that some of the tougher measures still included in the U.S.-supported draft resolution are unacceptable, from Beijing’s perspective. In particular, China has explicitly rejected a proposed ban on new investments in the Islamic Republic’s energy sector. Official Chinese press reports indicate that, in his meeting with President Obama, President Hu maintained Beijing’s position that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved “through dialogue and negotiations”. In terms of specific commitments, according to these reports, Hu said only that China “stands ready to maintain consultation and coordination with the United States and other parties”.

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