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Iran and the US have blamed each other for the deadlock in the nuclear talks. Photo: Reuters

China calls on US to lift Iran sanctions to revive nuclear talks

  • UN Security Council meeting told that Washington was responsible for the deadlock and should ‘recognise its responsibility’
  • The deal collapsed when Donald Trump walked away from it, and efforts by the current White House to restore it have stalled amid heightened tensions with Tehran
China has urged the United States to lift sanctions on Iran and stop threatening Tehran to revive stalled negotiations on the 2015 nuclear deal.
Geng Shuang, China’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, also told a Security Council session on Monday that a new resolution passed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to press Iran to cooperate would do nothing but “escalate conflict, undermine trust and cast a shadow over the negotiations”.

“All parties should look at the long-term and overall situation and avoid any move that could escalate the situation and undermine the negotiation process,” Geng said, according to China News Service.

Geng said the US decision in 2018 to pull out of the deal, under which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for relief from economic sanctions, had led to the current deadlock.

Although President Joe Biden has said the US wants to revive the deal, which his predecessor Donald Trump walked away from, talks to restore the accord, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, have been stalled since August, with Iran and the US blaming each other for the impasse.

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“As the creator of the Iranian nuclear crisis, the US should recognise its responsibility and take the lead in taking practical measures,” Geng said.

“China calls on the US to fulfil its commitments under the agreement, lift all unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ measures against Iran and third parties, and stop threatening to use force against Iran.”

He went on to urge all parties to “accurately interpret” Security Council resolutions so that issues such as Iranian space launches and drone transfers to Russia could be handled “with caution” to avoid tensions further escalating.

Monday’s meeting was held after an IAEA delegation visited Iran to talk with the head of the country’s nuclear energy organisation. The Iranian news agency ISNA said the meeting addressed “future joint cooperation and programmes, in addition to safeguarding issues”, without giving details.

Last month, the IAEA’s 35-member board passed a resolution, calling for full cooperation from Iran after the agency published a report concluding that there had been “no progress” in a long-standing investigation into undeclared nuclear material in the country. China and Russia voted against the resolution.


Death to dictators, protesters chant as crowds defy authorities at Tehran metro stations

Death to dictators, protesters chant as crowds defy authorities at Tehran metro stations
Tensions between Iran and the West have risen in recent weeks over the anti-government protests in the Islamic Republic and accusations that Iran had provided Russia with drones for its war in Ukraine.
Tehran has admitted supplying drones to Moscow but said that had happened before the invasion of Ukraine in February.

At the same time, the US has intensified its sanctions on Iran – last month, the Biden administration announced new sanctions on 13 companies from mainland China, Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates, accusing them of easing sale of Iranian petrochemicals and petroleum products to buyers in East Asia.

Last week, the US government said it had blacklisted a Chinese video surveillance company that it said had helped the Iranian Revolutionary Guards acquire US-manufactured technology, which is prohibited under American sanctions.

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Beijing has long said sanctions would do nothing to resolve the nuclear crisis.

Earlier this year President Xi Jinping met his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi in Uzbekistan, after which Vice-Premier Hu Chunhua followed up with a visit to Tehran, where he said China “will not waver in its determination to develop [the] comprehensive strategic partnership”.

Unlike the West, Beijing has refused to criticise Tehran’s crackdown on the protests, saying it is a domestic matter.