China urges diplomatic solution to Iran nuclear issue

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Monday that pursuing a "diplomatic solution" to Iran's nuclear issue is important, despite the United States' motion to increase sanctions on Tehran.

"All parties should be committed to a diplomatic solution on the issue and strike while the iron is hot so that we can take the first steps as soon as possible," Hua said.

Hua said the interim deal between Iran and the six major world powers was an important move toward a diplomatic solution. She asked that all parties continue in mutual respect while the deal is implemented.

Hua said Beijing would continue to support productive peace talks that result in a comprehensive and appropriate solution to the nuclear issue.

U.S. President Barack Obama issued new sanctions on Dec. 12 to companies that provided support for Tehran's nuclear program. The U.S. Treasury Department said it would freeze assets and transactions of entities that attempted to evade the sanctions.

Hua said the embargoes were issued despite a resolution between Iran and members of the U.N. Security Council. The deal was supposed to lead to a full resolution of the dispute, and additional sanctions were not supposed to be instituted for six months.

"We will seriously pursue the Geneva talks, and we will of course give a proper, calculated, purposeful and smart response to any improper and unconstructive action," Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

Zarif said Tehran would continue negotiations with the six major world powers, and would respond in kind to unconstructive and inappropriate action.