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    Senior Chinese Diplomat in Iran for Talks on Nuclear Issue

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    NTDTelevision

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    China has sent one of its senior diplomats to Iran's capital. He's there to try to get the Iranian government to resume UN nuclear talks. The visit comes at a time when concerns are mounting that Iran is well on its way to developing nuclear weapons.

    China's assistant foreign minister was in Tehran on Monday. Ma Zhaoxu was trying to convince Iran's government to rejoin nuclear talks with the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

    That group—known as the P5+1—also includes the US, which has been increasing sanctions against Iran in recent weeks. That's been over the issue of Iran's nuclear development.

    The Chinese regime has traditionally opposed strong sanctions against Iran, as it is Iran's largest oil customer. China purchases roughly 20% of Iran's yearly crude oil production.

    This puts China's leadership in a tricky situation as they try to balance their economic interest in Iran with the strong call for intervention and sanctions that is voiced by the US and other countries.

    The West suspects Iran of gearing-up for nuclear weapons production. Iran's leaders insist that their nuclear program is peaceful and meant solely for energy production.

    At the same time Iran has insisted it has the right to pursue its nuclear production even without the consent of the rest of the world. It has been generally uncooperative with the IAEA—the UN's nuclear watchdog.