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You're reading: WikiLeaks: Saudi urged China to be tougher on Iran

Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has offered to promote energy ties with China if Beijing backed sanctions against Iran, according to diplomatic cables leaked by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, the New York Times reported.

The kingdom is the top crude oil supplier for China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer.

"(Saudi) Deputy Foreign Minister Dr Prince Torki … explained that Saudi Arabia understood China was concerned about having access to energy supplies, which could be cut off by Iran, and wanted to attract more trade and investment," a diplomatic dispatch said, the newspaper reported on its website.

"Saudi Arabia was willing to provide assurances on those scores to China, but only in exchange for tangible Chinese actions to restrain Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons."

Iran has been hit by international, U.S. and European Union sanctions imposed in response to Western fears the country’s nuclear activities are aimed at developing bombs. Tehran says it has no such aim. China, one of Iran’s main trade partners and a permanent member of the council, has supported some of the sanctions on condition they would exclude sanctions on Iran’s energy sector.

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