The United States is still attempting to gain China’s support for its efforts to convince the United Nations to impose new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
“We’re… going through the UN this month to present sanctions and achieve solidarity,” US National Security Advisor James Jones told Fox News on Sunday.
“We have tremendous [international] support. We need to work on China a little bit more,” he said, adding that “on this issue, they cannot be non-supportive.”
“Russia is supportive and is on board, and has been a steady friend and ally on this with President Obama,” Jones added.
However, according to some media reports, Beijing is ready to veto any United Nations Security Council resolution against Iran.
“It seems that Beijing is ready to make use of its veto to reject all anti-Iran decisions by the Security Council since China regards Iran as an important trade partner,” the leading pan-Arab daily al-Hayat wrote in its Friday edition .
On February 8, shortly after Iran informed the UN nuclear agency of its plans to enrich uranium to 20 percent purity for the Tehran research reactor, US, French, and Russian officials said that serious measures should be taken against Iran.
However, on February 9, China called on all parties involved in the talks on Iran’s nuclear program to work for a deal that would provide Iran the 20-percent enriched uranium needed for the Tehran research reactor.
US Vice President Joe Biden also said on Sunday that the United States is stepping up its efforts to win China’s support for a UN resolution imposing sanctions on Iran.
“We have the support of everyone from Russia to Europe. And I believe we’ll get the support of China to continue to impose sanctions on Iran to isolate them, to make clear that in fact they cannot move forward,” Biden said on NBC’s Meet the Press program.
The West is pressuring Iran to accept a UN-backed draft deal which requires Iran to send most of its domestically-produced low-enriched uranium abroad for conversion into the more refined fuel that the Tehran research reactor requires to produce radioisotopes for medical purposes.
But Iran has asked the International Atomic Energy Agency to facilitate its efforts to acquire the fuel, while taking its concerns into consideration.
Biden was dismissive of Iran’s nuclear achievements, saying, “The progress that Iran has made on the nuclear front is greatly exaggerated in my view.”
Meanwhile, Iran says it is still open to talks on a fuel swap with the West. However, Tehran insists that its “conditions,” mainly revolving around guarantee issues, must be taken into consideration if the West is interested in a fuel exchange with Iran.
Iran needs 120 kg (264 lb) of 20 percent-enriched uranium to fuel the Tehran research reactor, which will run out of fuel in the near future.
If the Tehran research reactor’s fuel completely runs out, there will be dire consequences for thousands of Iranians who desperately need radioisotopes for medical treatment.