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TOKYO, June 12  -- Despite months of pressure from Washington, Japan has become increasingly reluctant to join a Bush administration plan for sanctions against Iran if negotiations fail to resolve concerns over the country's nuclear program, Japanese and U.S. officials said Monday.
Japanese officials are suggesting that their country, which has more at stake in Iran financially than any other potential sanctions partner, may not join in punitive measures unless there is a broad international consensus along the lines of a U.N. Security Council resolution or other measure backed by nations now reluctant to impose sanctions, such as China. The White House had hoped instead to bring Japan into a "coalition of the willing" that avoided dealing with "recalcitrants" such as Russia and China.
As nations such as Japan back out of Iran oil development, the government in Iran is forced to dig into its reserve funds to get crucial projects off the ground. Iran is hoping to turn to China and Russia for help.
1/11/2007 3:20 AM ET
BEIJING (AP) — China warned the United States on Thursday not to meddle in its trade relations with Iran after Washington expressed concern about a planned investment by a Chinese oil company in an Iranian gas field.
"We think this kind of cooperation and relationship is legitimate. Normal cooperation should not be interfered (with)," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao. Asked whether that meant Beijing believed the United States was interfering in its dealings with Iran, Liu said: "This is our position."
The U.S. government expressed concern last month to Beijing about a planned investment by state-owned Chinese oil company CNOOC Ltd. in Iran's Northern Pars gas field. Washington said major business dealings with Tehran were inappropriate at a time when Iran was defying U.N. resolutions over its nuclear program.
Atomstroyexport head Sergei Shmatko earlier said Moscow could start preparing for fuel deliveries to the Bushehr NPP in January.
"Fuel deliveries to the Bushehr NPP require preparations three months in advance, and we plan to start the preparations in January 2007 to be able to deliver the fuel in March," he said.
Voicing extreme concern over Russia's recent sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, senior diplomatic and defense officials warned Moscow Tuesday that the deal could have serious security implications that would even "get back to Russia."
Senior officials in Jerusalem said they "were not pleased" with the sale of the anti-aircraft missiles, but that Russia was a sovereign country and they could not intervene.