CHINA / DIPLOMACY
China has made great efforts and played a key role to bring the JCPOA back on track: FM
Published: Feb 24, 2021 11:23 PM

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin. Photo: VCG


China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin's Regular Press Conference on February 24, 2021.

Q: Iran said on February 23 it had started to restrict some site inspections by the IAEA. The foreign ministers of France, Germany, and Britain said in a joint statement that they "deeply regret" the move by Iran. Permanent Representative of Russia to the IAEA said that Moscow hopes Iran's suspension of the Additional Protocol of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will not last for a long period of time. Do you have any comment on this? We noted that there have been frequent interactions on the issue of U.S. return to the JCPOA in recent days. What has China done with respect to that? 

A: China highly values the Iranian nuclear issue, actively advances the political and diplomatic settlement process, and upholds the international non-proliferation regime as well as peace and stability in the Middle East. China has made great efforts and played a key role in order to bring the JCPOA back on track. 

At a video conference of foreign ministers on the Iranian nuclear issue last December, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that all parties should steadfastly preserve the JCPOA, fairly and objectively resolve differences on compliance issues, properly settle regional security issues and promote the unconditional U.S. return to the deal at an early date. He also proposed to hold an international meeting with the participation of JCPOA participants and the United States to start the process of U.S. return to the Iranian nuclear deal. The EU made specific proposals for the meeting recently. China supports that and stays in close communication with other parties including the United States and Iran. The Chinese side hopes the proposed meeting will focus on a possible roadmap for the synchronized and reciprocal return to full compliance with the JCPOA by the United States and Iran and produce early harvests.

On February 10 and 22, 2021, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu had  phone conversations with U.S. Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley at the latter's invitation, and the two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the Iranian nuclear issue. Vice Foreign Minister Ma stated China's position and concerns on the Iranian nuclear issue, stressing that the United States should return to the JCPOA and lift sanctions on Iran as soon as possible, which holds the key to breaking the current deadlock. It also need to take concrete actions to address Iran's concerns, enhance mutual trust with Iran, in order to pave the way for holding an informal meeting between JCPOA participants and the United States to discuss a possible roadmap for the synchronized and reciprocal return to full compliance with the JCPOA by the United States and Iran. Both sides said they will remain committed to political settlement and stand ready to step up dialogue with other parties to ensure the JCPOA will return to the right track at an early date. The two sides also agreed to stay in communication and coordination.

On February 22, Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu also had a phone conversation with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi. Vice Foreign Minister Ma said the JCPOA participants should hold the meeting with the United States as soon as possible to consolidate the current good momentum. The two sides stressed that the United States should return to the JCPOA and lift sanctions on Iran as soon as possible, which holds the key to breaking the current deadlock. Relevant parties should seize the opportunity, promote the return of the Iranian nuclear deal to the right track and the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue to uphold peace and stability in the Middle East.

Besides, the principal official of the MFA's Department of Arms Control stays in close communication with all parties of the Iranian nuclear deal.

China will continue to preserve the JCPOA, work for the resumption of full and effective compliance at an early date so as to better safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East. 

The Iranian nuclear situation is at a critical juncture, presenting both opportunities and challenges. China always holds that U.S. return to the JCPOA and lifting of sanctions on Iran holds the key to breaking the deadlock. China appreciates the reaching of a temporary bilateral technical understanding on the safeguards issue between Iran and the IAEA and noticed that both sides have spoken highly of this result. China hopes that the relevant understanding could be faithfully implemented and urges other parties to play a constructive role in this process.  


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