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Tehran--Iran said on Thursday the talk of sanctions by world powers against the Islamic republic over its nuclear program is just an empty threat that has been ineffective against Tehran for the past 30 years.
"The nuclear program of the Islamic republic is fully peaceful and the talk of sanctions is a threat that has been ineffective over the past 30 years," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said.
World powers have stepped up pressure to impose a new round of UN sanctions on Iran for doggedly pursuing its controversial nuclear program which they suspect masks a weapons drive.
Tehran has steadfastly denied these accusations and continued with its atomic work despite three sets of existing sanctions, saying Iran as a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty it has the right to nuclear technology.
"We recommend that all countries accept the legal rights (of Iran) under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), instead of using wrong methods such as sanctions and pressure," Mehmanparast said, according to Mehr news agency.
Efforts to impose fresh sanctions on Tehran have been stepped up, with US President Barack Obama saying on Tuesday that the new measures could be levied within weeks.
However, China, a key veto-wielding power at the UN Security Council, is still insisting on a peaceful solution to the crisis.
China said on Thursday it was working for a "peaceful resolution" of the Iranian nuclear standoff, as Tehran sent its top negotiator, Saeed Jalili, to Beijing for talks on the disputed atomic drive.
"On the Iranian nuclear issue, China will continue to endeavor toward a peaceful resolution," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters.
"We have always and will continue to push for a peaceful settlement of this issue," Qin said, adding that the long-running crisis should be resolved by "diplomatic means".
Jalili arrived in China on Thursday for talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and other Chinese officials.
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said on Wednesday that China now appeared ready for "serious" talks on Iran. "China has agreed to sit down and begin serious negotiations here in New York," Rice told CNN.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has predicted the Security Council will reach a consensus on new Iran sanctions.
"We see a growing awareness on the part of many countries including China as to the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran to regional and global stability, to our oil supply," she said.