China urges Iran ‘flexibility’ as IAEA talks begin


(JTA) — China urged Iran to show flexibility on the day the U.N. nuclear watchdog launched talks with the Islamic Republic over greater access to its nuclear sites.

"China hopes the Iranian side can weigh up the situation, take a flexible and pragmatic approach, have serious talks with all six related nations, and enhance dialogues and cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency so as to ensure the tensions can be eased through negotiations," media quoted Chinese President Hu Jintao as telling his Iranian counterpart, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, during Ahmadinejad’s visit Friday to Beijing.

Of the six major powers negotiating with Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program, China and Russia have been most resistant to intensified sanctions and further isolation, while the United States, Britain, France and Germany have favored increased pressure.

In Vienna, meanwhile, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, the chief Iranian envoy on nuclear matters, met with officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The IAEA officials want access to Parchin, a military complex where recent evidence suggests Iran has been developing a weapons program.

Iran insists Parchin is a conventional military facility.

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