China Says Nuclear Talks Not Iran-US Showdown

China Says Nuclear Talks Not Iran-US Showdown   China Says Nuclear Talks Not Iran-US Showdown

The Chinese foreign minister rejected assertions by some US officials that the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program are practically going on between Tehran and Washington with other major powers engaged in the talks being sidelined.  

Wang Yi, who was speaking at a press conference in Pakistan, said, "None of the P5+1 members (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) have abandoned the nuclear talks with Iran," IRNA reported on Thursday.

The top diplomat apparently made the remarks in reference to comments by a US lawmaker suggesting that the talks over Iran's nuclear program are effectively taking place between Tehran and Washington.  

"It's evident that these negotiations are really not P5+1 negotiations anymore," Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker claimed as he emerged from a closed-door briefing by Obama administration officials on the status of nuclear talks with Iran on Tuesday, AFP reported.

  Forward-Looking Approach

Wang, who is expected to visit Tehran today, also said China as well as other permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany are involved in the negotiations with Iran and are pushing the talks adopting a "forward-looking" approach.  

Meanwhile as the White House and the US Congress remain divided over imposition of new sanctions against Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov downplayed the impact of western sanctions against Iran. He said, "I don't believe sanctions have brought Iran to the negotiations with the P5+1."

Ryabkov told Rossiya Segodnya news agency on Wednesday, "I draw the attention of advocates of sanctions to the fact that Iran's nuclear program has made significant progress compared to the period before the imposition of sanctions."

Ryabkov, elsewhere, said he believed the remaining time before the end of March would be enough to work out a framework for of a final pact over Iran's nuclear program.

He stated that striking any political agreement requires the difficult balancing act and flexibility on both sides.

After nearly a year of talks, Iran and the six major powers failed for a second time last November to meet a self-imposed deadline to reach a long-term settlement to resolve the decade-long dispute over Tehran's nuclear program. They agreed to extend the talks until June 30.

They aim to reach a general agreement by the end of March which would set out the parameters of a final accord and use the remaining time to finalize the details.