Source: Global Times Published: 2019-5-8
Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the United Nations secretary-general, reads out UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' statement concerning the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal at the UN headquarters in New York, on May 8, 2018. Antonio Guterres on Tuesday voiced "deep concern" over US President Donald Trump's decision to pull America out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)
China called on related parties to exercise restraint, strengthen dialogue and avoid escalating tensions after Iran announced it would withdraw from some of the provisions of the Iran Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Wednesday, considered a response to the "illegal" withdrawal of the US from the agreement a year ago.
However, Chinese experts expressed pessimism for an easing of the Iran nuclear issue 60 days later - a time limit Iran gave the remaining JCPOA members to meet Iran's demands, or the country would suspend compliance with uranium enrichment limits and measures.
Iran is ready to continue consultations with the remaining JCPOA members, but will make a strong and immediate response to any irresponsible action, including referral to the UN Security Council or implementation of further sanctions, according to a statement by the Supreme Security Council of Iran the Iranian Embassy in Beijing sent to the Global Times on Wednesday afternoon.
"The JCPOA is a multilateral agreement endorsed by the UN Security Council, which is vital to the international nuclear-nonproliferation regime as well as peace and stability in the Middle East. It deserves to be fully and effectively implemented," Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a routine press conference on Wednesday.
Geng said that China speaks highly of Iran's strict implementation of its duties according to the JCPOA while firmly opposes unilateral US sanctions against and "long-arm jurisdiction" over Iran.
The country also feels regret for some of the US actions that further aggravated tensions on the Iran nuclear issue, said the spokesman.
"China will maintain communication with relevant parties, and continue to make efforts to maintain and implement the JCPOA while protecting Chinese firms' legal interests and rights," Geng noted.
Geng's remarks came following Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Wednesday a partial withdrawal from some of the measures in the JCPOA to protect its security and interests.
"The goodwill and restraint of the Iranian people have remained unanswered, and no operational mechanisms have been set up to compensate for US sanctions except for the issuance of political statements," the statement said.
The remaining countries will be given 60 days to fulfill their obligations, especially in banking and oil fields. If they fail to meet Iran's demands in the time given, then the Islamic Republic of Iran will suspend compliance with the uranium enrichment limits and measures to modernize the Arak Heavy Water Reactor, the statement said.
Iran's latest move is "understandable," said Hua Liming, former Chinese Ambassador to Iran.
"Iran has no way to retreat amid increasing US sanctions. The country has shown considerable restraint at the request of the other members, including the EU, China and Russia, in the past year," Hua told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Hua Liming is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.