Iran nuclear talks: China praises ‘positive steps’ from US, Europe to revive 2015 deal

American Age Official

Recent US and European moves on the Iran nuclear issue were “a positive step” towards seeking a resolution, China said, as it called on Tehran to fulfil its end of the bargain.

This came as representatives from Iran and other signatories to the stalled 2015 Iran nuclear agreement – including China – reconvened in Vienna in a bid to revive the deal.

The ongoing talks were “making positive progress”, Wang Qun, China’s envoy to the United Nations in Vienna, said on the sidelines of the talks on Tuesday. Recent US sanctions waivers on Iran’s civil nuclear programme were “positive steps”, he added.

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China hopes Iran could make a relevant response to take some steps, and try to come up with written feedback on the proposed package for discussion by all parties,” Xinhua cited Wang as saying.

The 2015 nuclear deal, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was an agreement reached with Iran by the US, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, to offer Tehran sanctions relief in return for halting uranium enrichment. The deal stalled in 2018 after then US president Donald Trump withdrew unilaterally.

The countries concerned have been negotiating in Vienna, with indirect US participation, since last year.

“The US, as the originator of the current Iran nuclear crisis, should lift all related unilateral sanctions on Iran and third parties, including China, in order to regain the trust of the international community, while Iran should again comprehensively fulfil its obligations on this basis,” Wang told reporters in Vienna.

“China agrees to enhance the sense of urgency during the talks, but it’s not constructive to set a deadline for the negotiations,” he said, calling on all parties to focus on the issue of sanctions relief.

Wang’s remarks came after Tehran on Monday claimed that US sanctions were Iran’s “red line”, and Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Sunday described their removal as “good but insufficient”.

Iran says US sanctions move ‘good but not enough’

Wang Nan, a Middle East expert with the Shanghai International Studies University’s Institute of Silk Road Strategy Studies, said China never wanted to play a key role in the Iran nuclear talks, but Beijing realises that it is important to prevent the negotiations from being stalled again.

“On the Iranian nuclear issue, both Iran and the United States have their own positions and goals. China’s role is to encourage talks,” he said.

“The US’ withdrawal from the talks in 2015 is the key reason causing today’s deadlock, so China hopes Washington should show its sincerity to lift sanctions on Iran first.”

Iran, which denies ever seeking a nuclear bomb, has gradually violated the limits of the nuclear pact in reaction to Trump’s withdrawal from the pact and reimposition of crippling sanctions.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2022 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2022. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

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