China firmly disapproves sanctions against Iran

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday reiterated his opposition to imposing sanctions against Iran, saying a solution to the standoff over Tehran's nuclear program could still be reached through peaceful efforts.

"Our goal is to find a solution to the Iranian nuclear problem, but sanctions do not necessarily lead to this goal, they can also achieve the opposite," Wen said through a translator after a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

"So long as there is still hope, we should continue to move ahead with our peaceful efforts," he said, but did not elaborate.

Wen's comments came as a Chinese Foreign Ministry called on Tehran to work together with the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear monitoring body, to resolve the dispute.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council - Britain, France, the U.S., Russia and China - along with Germany, are offering Iran economic and political rewards if it agrees to consider a long-term moratorium on enrichment and commits to an enrichment freeze before talks to discuss details of their package, the AP reports.

China and Russia have resisted U.S.-led efforts to move to sanctions quickly, despite the expiry of an Aug. 31 deadline on Iran to freeze work on developing the technology. Instead, they favor continued negotiations.