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At Shanghai Expo, Ahmadinejad polite despite China's support for Iran sanctions

On visit to the Shanghai Expo, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alluded to 'pressure and intimidation' that China may have felt in the Iran sanctions vote. China, the largest customer of Iran oil, is treading carefully in the Middle East.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, is shown the way by Chinese official Yu Zhengsheng after a flag raising ceremony during his visit to the Shanghai World Expo in Shanghai, China, Friday, June 11, 2010. Ahmadinejad has been polite in remarks about China, considering their support of new UN sanctions against Iran.

AP Photo/Andy Wong

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China gave a low-key welcome to Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as he visited the Shanghai Expo on Friday, just days after Beijing voted for a fourth round of United Nations sanctions designed to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Officials here have insisted repeatedly in recent days that no senior government leader would meet Mr. Ahmadinejad, who inspected the Iranian pavilion at the Expo.

China’s vote in favor of sanctions have put fresh strains on its traditionally friendly relations with Tehran. Iran’s top nuclear official lashed out at Beijing Thursday, warning that “China is gradually losing its respectable position in the Islamic world.” But Ahmadinejad was polite in Shanghai.

IN PICTURES: Shanghai World Expo 2010 at night

"We have very good relations with China and we have no reason to weaken our relations with China.... The problem is the United States," said Ahmadinejad, who said Security Council countries had been subject to pressure and intimidation, according to the Associated Press.


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