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China said to approve joining Iran high-speed railway project

By Bloomberg News

China’s State Council approved plans to take part in the construction of a high-speed railway line in Iran, two people familiar with the matter said.

The project will cost at least $1 billion and the companies participating haven’t yet been set, said the two people, who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

China’s decision comes as the U.S., the European Union and their allies seek to tighten sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program. Iran maintains its program is peaceful, while the U.S. argues it’s seeking the capability to make atomic bombs.

China, the biggest buyer of Iranian crude oil, believes that “dialogue and cooperation” are the only ways to settle differences over Iran’s nuclear program, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a briefing this month.

The Foreign Ministry didn’t immediately respond to a faxed request for comment today.