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. China vice FM heads to Iran over nuclear crisis
BEIJING, Aug 14 (AFP) Aug 14, 2006
China's assistant foreign minister, Cui Tiankai, was to travel to Iran on Monday to discuss the ongoing nuclear crisis, the foreign ministry announced.

"During his visit, both sides will exchange views on the Iran nuclear issue and other international and regional issues of common concern," spokesman Liu Jianchao said on the ministry's website.

The announcement did not say how long the visit would last.

China has maintained that the Iran nuclear crisis should be resolved through diplomacy, following the UN Security Council resolution demanding Tehran halt nuclear activities by August 31.

Iran on Sunday repeated its refusal to suspend uranium enrichment activities, threatening instead to withdraw from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN's nuclear watchdog.

While China and Russia voted for the Security Council resolution on July 31, they have consistently advocated a softer line against Iran than that of the United States, particularly on the issue of potential sanctions.

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