Israel takes Iran concerns to China
Israeli FM Avigdor Lieberman speaks at a press conference in Beijing. AP photoIsraeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he told Chinese leaders on March 16 that Iran poses the gravest danger to world peace and stability, although it was unclear whether he’d won any stronger support for pressure on Tehran.
China is one of five permanent veto-wielding member of the U.N. Security Council and has generally sided with Russia in arguing against tougher action to force Iran into greater openness over its nuclear program. Lieberman said he told Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi that Israel hopes negotiations and sanctions can resolve concerns over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. But he said Israel reserved the right to defend itself if such efforts failed and would not take any options off the table.
“It’s clear that Iran is the biggest threat not only to Israel, but to the entire world, including all of the Middle East,” Lieberman said. Lieberman said China is a key player in diplomatic efforts to push Tehran to be more open about the program but would not comment on the content of Friday’s talks or say if Israel is satisfied with China’s position on Iran.
China’s official Xinhua News Agency quoted Xi and Yang calling for even stronger ties as well as greater efforts toward a negotiated settlement between Israel, the Palestinians, and their Arab neighbors. Xinhua’s reports did not mention Iran.