China welcomes Vladimir Putin's proposed summit on Iran

China has welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin's proposed summit of world leaders to avoid "confrontation" over a US attempt to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran.

The United States lost a bid on Friday to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Iran.

Russia and China opposed extending the weapons ban, which is due to expire in October under a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the failure of the US resolution "again showed that unilateralism has no popular support, and hegemonistic behaviour will not succeed".

Zhao added that the US needs to end its unilateral sanctions and adopt a rational attitude, returning to the "correct path" of respecting the Iran nuclear agreement and Security Council decisions.

As for the Russian proposal for a teleconference summit on the Iran nuclear issue, China expresses its welcome and appreciation," he said.

"We are willing to continue to maintain close communication and coordination with all parties concerned to jointly promote a political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue."

Meanwhile, Beijing and Tehran are in the process of finalising an ambitious partnership covering a range of security and economic issues. The agreement will include Chinese development of Iranian transportation infrastructure, a 5G network and joint military exercises.

The closer Iran and China grow, the less likely it is becoming that China would back a future nuclear deal constraining Tehran’s ambitions.

China has increasingly used its veto power in the UN Security Council, moreso as it relates to geopolitical issues in the Middle East.

Since 2011 and the outbreak of the Syrian civil war, China has exercised its veto 10 times, nine of which were on votes related to Syria. Its most recent veto, cast in July alongside Russia, prevented the council’s approval of aid deliveries to Syria from Turkey for another year.