Iran blames U.S. for 'bullying' China to join sanctions

By Keith B. Richburg
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 11, 2010; 9:31 AM

BEIJING -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Friday brushed off as "worthless paper" a new U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution against his country, and he seemed to blame the United States for "bullying" his ally, China, into joining the sanctions push.

Visiting Shanghai just two days after China succumbed to international pressure and supported a fourth round of sanctions, Ahmadinejad, at a news conference, aimed most of his wrath at the Obama administration and Israel, but seemed conciliatory toward Beijing.

"We have very good relations with China, and we have no reason to weaken our relations with China," Ahmadinejad said after touring the Iranian and Chinese pavilions at the Shanghai World Expo. "I said the problem is the United States."

He said the Obama administration had subjected other countries on the Security Council to "pressure and intimidation" and "bullying."

Ahmadinejad was scheduled to visit only Shanghai and had no meetings planned with senior Chinese officials. Chinese President Hu Jintao is in Uzbekistan for a meeting of leaders of Central Asian countries and Russia.

China's Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the sanctions vote was not meant to preempt diplomacy but rather reinforce it. China, which has billions of dollars in trade with Iran and is heavily invested in Iranian energy projects, had insisted that any new sanctions not target everyday life for Iranians.

Analysts said China's vote for sanctions was unlikely to harm ties between the two countries.

"The sanctions won't affect the trade between China and Iran," said Yin Gang, a professor with the Institute of West Asian and African Studies. "There is no possibility that Iran will take revenge or any anti-sanction measures toward China, which will be harmful to Iran, too."

"Iran needs China," Ying said. "Iran knows that China is seeking a balanced diplomacy in the Middle East." He added, "China has already done its best to make the sanctions have less impact on the lives of ordinary Iranians."

Researcher Zhang Jie in Beijing contributed to this report.

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