China said Wednesday it opposed unilateral and expanded sanctions against Iran, such as those announced by several Western countries aimed at pressuring Tehran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program.
"China is always against unilateral sanctions against Iran, let alone the expansion of such sanctions," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a regular briefing.
On Monday, the U.S., Britain and Canada announced more sanctions intended to isolate Iran's economy, based on International Atomic Energy Agency suspicions that Iran is secretly working to develop nuclear weapons.
But countries such as China and Russia have far greater economic investments in Iran, whose energy exports have helped it shrug off serious harm from four rounds of U.N. sanctions since 2006 and other penalties applied by individual countries and the European Union.
"We believe pressuring and sanctions cannot fundamentally solve the Iranian issue, but will complicate the issue. Ratched-up confrontation is not conducive to the region's peace and stability," Liu said, adding that the parties involved "should strengthen dialogue and cooperation."