BEIJING, February 9 (RIA Novosti, Alexei Yefimov) - A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the country was hoping for a positive outcome of talks between Russia and Iran later this month on the latter's controversial nuclear research, but downplayed suggestions that China might play a role in them.
According to Kong Quan, China has repeatedly spoken in favor of Russia's proposal to enrich Iranian uranium on Russian territory, saying it could help find a solution to the deadlock around Iran's nuclear programs.
China, a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, has commercial interests in the Islamic Republic and could yet play a decisive role in any resolution of escalating crisis. But Quan refrained from saying whether a Chinese delegation would be in Moscow for the Russian-Iranian talks on February 16.
"We so far have not received an official invitation," the diplomat said. "While there is no official invitation, we cannot talk about attending."
The Russian offer has been seen as a compromise in the standoff between the Islamic Republic and the West over its nuclear programs after Tehran caused widespread international concern with its January 10 announcement that it had abandoned a two-year moratorium on uranium enrichment research.
The 35-nation board of governors of the UN' nuclear watchdog adopted a resolution February 4 to inform the UN Security Council on the Iran nuclear issue. The resolution urges Iran to resume its moratorium on nuclear fuel research, to ratify an additional protocol to its agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and to allow the agency to clarify all aspects of its past nuclear activities.
Before a Tuesday meeting of the UN Security Council, IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei sent a formal letter to John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the current Security Council president, notifying him about IAEA work in Iran and the country's nuclear research. The U.S. has been pushing to have Iran's "nuclear file" referred to the Security Council, which has the power to impose sanctions if Tehran is found to have been in breach of its international commitments.