China reaffirms support for Iran's legitimate demands on nuclear issue

Wang Xinjuan
2021-12-17 18:10:27

China is firmly committed to a political and diplomatic settlement on the Iran nuclear issue and will work with relevant parties to achieve early results in negotiations to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Thursday.

In a phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Wang said the Iran nuclear issue is at a crossroads, adding that China supports the resumption of talks aimed at reviving the 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

China supports Iran's legitimate and reasonable demands and opposes the "wrong approach of exerting pressure at every turn," Wang also said.

A meeting of the Joint Commission on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) being held in Vienna, Austria, December 3, 2021. /Xinhua

Under the JCPOA between Iran and China, Russia, the United States, Britain, France and Germany, Iran curbed its uranium enrichment program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions by the U.S., the United Nations and the European Union.

In May 2018, the administration of then-U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal and unilaterally reimposed sanctions on Iran. In response, Iran gradually stopped implementing parts of its commitments to the agreement from May 2019.

Six rounds of negotiations were held in Vienna between April and June to iron out steps Iran and the U.S. must take in terms of nuclear activities and sanctions, respectively, to return to full compliance with the JCPOA.

Iran has urged the U.S. to lift all sanctions in a verifiable process and provide guarantees that Washington will not abandon the deal again if the talks to revive it succeed.

The talks resumed on November 29 – the first time since Ebrahim Raisi took office as Iran's president on August 5. Iran submitted draft proposals for a restored 2015 nuclear agreement during the seventh round of talks, but senior diplomats from Britain, France and Germany voiced "disappointment and concern."

Atomic Energy Organization of Iran spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi (L) meets with Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, upon his arrival in Tehran, Iran, November 22, 2021. /CFP

Abdollahian briefed Wang about the latest developments in the talks, hailing China's "constructive role" in advancing the negotiations.

Iran attended the talks with sincerity and goodwill and has taken a series of positive measures, Abdollahian said, adding that Tehran will continue to participate in the talks in a flexible and pragmatic manner.

Iran will maintain dialogue and cooperation with relevant parties but will never accept threats or bullying, he stressed.

The two diplomats also exchanged views on the nuclear submarine cooperation between the United States, the UK and Australia. Wang said the trilateral deal will pose nuclear proliferation risks and lead to arms race.

Abdollahian warned that the U.S., the UK and Australia should be responsible if countries in East Asia and the Middle East follow their example, resulting in nuclear proliferation.

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