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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 4:53 am

China calls for flexibility in Iran nuclear talks

The Associated Press

China on Tuesday urged Iran and the world powers involved in upcoming negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program to demonstrate flexibility and patience, saying it will help establish trust needed to resolve the issue peacefully.

China's Foreign Ministry said it is sending a delegation led by Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu to Istanbul in Turkey for talks scheduled to begin later this week.

The talks involving Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council nations plus Germany are the first direct negotiations on Tehran's nuclear program since a swift collapse more than 14 months ago.

The ministry said in a statement on its website that China calls for all parties to remain patient.

"We hope all parties will cherish and seize this opportunity, show flexibility and sincerity in the dialogue, to open a constructive and sustained dialogue process," the statement said.

The United States and its allies have sought to press Iran to suspend uranium enrichment in exchange for receiving reactor-ready fuel from abroad. Iran has pushed back by refusing to curtail enrichment, which is permitted under the U.N. treaty overseeing the spread of nuclear technology.

The enrichment issue lies at the core of the dispute between Iran and the West, which fears Tehran is seeking an atomic weapon - a charge the country denies, insisting its uranium program is for peaceful purposes only.