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China, Russia Push Diplomacy on Iran Nuclear Dispute

China and Russia are pushing diplomacy to resolve the dispute over Iran's nuclear programs. Both nations have veto power on the U.N. Security Council, which is mulling possible sanctions against Tehran. Iran is expected to be high on the agenda when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits China next week.

China and Russia urged Western countries Thursday to negotiate with Iran, rather than press for sanctions in the U.N. Security Council.

Iran was reported to the council earlier this month, after the International Atomic Energy Agency said that Tehran was not fully cooperating with inspections.

Western nations want Iran to suspend all nuclear activities, saying Tehran is trying to build weapons. Russia has posed a compromise solution, offering to enrich uranium for Iran to be used in nuclear energy reactors. But that proposal has yet to be accepted.

Russian Ambassador Sergei Razov was in Beijing Thursday to discuss cooperation with China to keep diplomacy on track.

China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang agreed there is still space for a negotiated settlement.

He says relevant parties should still show patience and flexibility, to seize the day, so this issue can be solved through peaceful means.

Even with the Russian compromise on the table, Iran has affirmed its right to have a peaceful nuclear program, and says it will not halt it nuclear research or uranium enrichment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to discuss the Iranian nuclear standoff with Chinese leaders when he visits the country next week. The two sides are also expected to discuss the North Korean nuclear standoff and energy cooperation.