WAR.WIRE
Iran tells China it has no plans to develop nuclear weapons
BEIJING (AFP) Aug 25, 2003
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi told China Monday Iran had no plan to develop nuclear weapons and that its program of peacefully utilizing nuclear energy was completely transparent, state media said.

Kharazi, who arrived in China Sunday for a visit, also said Iran was willing to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the official Xinhua news agency said.

Kharazi made the statements during a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in which he briefed Hu on Iran's position on nuclear weapons.

Hu told Kharazi that China opposes proliferation of nuclear weapons in any form, but supports the peaceful use of nuclear energy, Xinhua said.

Hu said China appreciated the Iranian stance of "strengthening cooperation" with the IAEA.

The Chinese president noted that China-Iran relations had developed smoothly, characterized by frequent top-level visits and good cooperation in areas of trade, energy, telecommunications and transportation.

"Iran has become an important trade partner of China in the Middle East," Hu said.

The economies of the two countries were highly complimentary and the potential for cooperation was great, Hu was quoted as saying.

Kharazi's visit comes after the United States imposed sanctions in July on five Chinese companies who allegedly sold arms to Iran which could be used for building weapons of mass destruction.

Both China and Iran protested the sanctions.

The United States has accused Iran's atomic energy program of being a cover for nuclear weapons development.

WAR.WIRE