China has since denied this claim, and this article is replaced with this one
Unnamed sources were cited today by Israeli newspaper Haaretz as claiming that China was, after months of pressing, finally agreeing in principle to the idea of sanctions against Iran. The sources did not give any details beyond the broad claim.
Other news outlets reported only that China has agreed to negotiate with Western nations over possible sanctions, citing US envoy Susan Rice. But this claim does not appear materially different from a Chinese promise to participate in such talks last week, an agreement which did not appear to come with any endorsement of sanctions in principle.
Still, the notion that Iran might be losing its Chinese “shield” from UN sanctions was strengthened when top Iranian negotiator Saeed Jalili departed this evening for talks in China. China has opposed the sanctions on the grounds that they could harm negotiations, but Iran may feel the need to reassure them that they are still open to that negotiation, despite US claims to the contrary.
Even if China is on board for some form of sanctions, there would still be a considerable battle over the nature of those sanctions. Russia has refused to support any but the most limited sanctions, while the US remains determined to push for “crippling” sanctions.