By staff and agency

Chinese ambassador to Moscow says nuclear deal cannot be replaced

August 23, 2019

The Chinese Ambassador to Russia, Zhang Hanhui, has said that the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is very “important and cannot be replaced”.

In an interview with TASS published on Thursday, he said that Beijing expects all parties to the JCPOA to take their obligations seriously.

“China highly values Iran’s strict compliance with the plan, which was repeatedly confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and hopes that other JCPOA participants will also take their obligations seriously,” Ambassador Zhang insisted.

He was hopeful that the international community would make every effort possible to protect the economic benefits the agreement offered to Iran, creating conditions for Tehran to continue implementing its obligations.

Zhang suggested that “the only real and effective way” to resolve the issue is that the United States rejoin the nuclear deal.

“Together with Russia, China will continue to monitor the situation and take active efforts within the United Nations to resolve the Iran nuclear issue and ease tensions,” the Chinese ambassador said.

U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal in May 2018 and returned the previous sanctions and imposed new ones.

So far, Iran has taken two steps in reducing its nuclear commitments: increasing its stockpile of enriched uranium beyond the 300 kilograms allowed under the JCPOA and enriching nuclear fuel to the purity level of 4.5 percent as the Europeans missed a 60-day deadline to devise a concrete mechanism to protect the country from the U.S. sanctions.

Under the agreement, Iran was allowed to enrich uranium to 3.67 percent.

President Hassan Rouhani said on August 14 that Tehran will start the next step of reducing nuclear obligations after the second 60-day deadline.

The third step can include installation of more centrifuges, especially advanced ones.

Rouhani has described Iran’s moves in reducing nuclear commitments step by step as a “wise” decision.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Monday that Iran is devising the third step of reducing its obligations in a way proportionate to the issues between Iran and the remaining parties to the deal.

On Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Paris to discuss a plan reportedly presented by France on how to save the JCPOA.

“There are many suggestions and consultations. Mr. Macron [French President Emmanuel Macron] is making efforts in this respect. Other European countries have provided supports in this respect and we will wait to see what result these diplomatic efforts will yield in the little time left to take the third step,” he said in a press conference.

Iran says its decision to reduce its commitments are in line with paragraph 36 of the JCPOA which has provided a mechanism to resolve disputes and allows one side, under certain circumstances, to stop complying with the deal if the other side is out of compliance. 

Officials in Tehran have insisted if the remaining parties to the JCPOA compensate sanctions effects Iran will reverse its decision.

Zarif said on Wednesday if the Europeans fully honor their commitments to the nuclear deal, Iran will immediately reverse its decision in scaling down its obligations.

“Even if the United States does not return to the nuclear deal, Iran will return to the first stage in several hours… on the condition that the European side fully implements its obligations,” Zarif said in a speech at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

UN Secretary-General’s Chef de Cabinet Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti said on Tuesday that the UN supports the nuclear deal.

NA/PA

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