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Chinese leader's comments dash Iran sanction hopes

BEIJING (AP) - International efforts to pressure Iran through sanctions appear headed for resistance in China.

During a meeting with Iran's first vice president, Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao (win jah-bow) said Beijing will "maintain high-level exchanges with Iran." He says China plans to strengthen cooperation with Tehran, an indication China won't go along with strict sanctions aimed at Iran's disputed nuclear program.

China's official Xinhua (shihn-wah) News Agency reports Wen said China is committed to a peaceful resolution of the nuclear issue, while offering no specifics.

The U.S. is also facing a challenge in trying to convince Russia sanctions are needed. Both Russia and China are veto-wielding members of the U.N.'s Security Council and have long defended Tehran by watering down resolutions.

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