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Is China warming up to more Iran sanctions?

China has publicly maintained its preference for pursuing talks with Tehran over new Iran sanctions. But it has also quietly accepted two international slaps of Iran over the past week.

Iran's Experts Assembly. China has preferred to pursue talks with Iran, but has recently accepted two international moves against Iran.

Vahid Salemi/AP

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Is China warming to the idea of a new round of international sanctions against Iran?

As the United States and its European partners continue to press for a fourth round of UN Security Council sanctions aimed at curtailing Iran’s nuclear activity, China has publicly maintained its preference for pursuing talks with Tehran over new economic restraints.

And that matters, because China, as one of five permanent members of the Security Council, holds veto power over Council action.

But China’s quiet acceptance of two international slaps of Iran over the past week may portend a gradual hardening toward Tehran. And such a hardening could eventually pave the way for passage of a United Nations sanctions resolution, some experts in Iran and international nuclear diplomacy believe.

Last week, the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body charged with setting global standards for combating money laundering and terrorism financing, named Iran to a new blacklist of offending countries. The FATF singled out Iran as the only country whose financial activities are so egregious as to warrant international countermeasures.

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