China calls on U.S. to make political decisions on Vienna talks

April 9, 2022 - 18:37

TEHRAN – China on Friday underlined the need for the United States to make political decisions and understand Iran’s concerns regarding the talks over the 2015 nuclear deal. 

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said the U.S. should make political decisions as soon as possible and actively respond to the legitimate concerns of the Iranian side if it wants to get the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), revived. 

Speaking at a press briefing, Zhao said negotiations on reviving the JCPOA have entered the final stage, with all parties having reached a consensus on most of the issues while only a few remain to be resolved, Press TV reported. 

He said China believes that there is no better alternative to the JCPOA.

“At this final phase, it is ever more important that all parties boost confidence, step up diplomatic efforts, facilitate a smooth conclusion of the negotiations and avoid letting previous efforts come to naught,” the Chinese diplomat said.

“As the culprit of the Iranian nuclear crisis, the U.S. should make political decisions as soon as possible and actively respond to the legitimate concerns of the Iranian side,” he added.

Zhao also said that China will continue to “participate in the negotiations constructively, help bring the JCPOA back to the normal track at an early date, uphold the international non-proliferation system and promote peace and stability in the Middle East.”

The remarks came days after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was not “overly optimistic” at the prospects of concluding the Vienna talks. 

In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Blinken warned that “time is getting extremely short to restore the JCPOA” but added that a successful conclusion of the talks would be in the interest of the United States, according to Press TV. 

The talks in Vienna over the JCPOA have come to a standstill due to lack of political decisions on the part of the U.S.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has recently blamed the United States for the protracted Vienna talks, saying Tehran is ready for a good and durable nuclear agreement.

During a phone call with Omani Foreign Minister Badr al-Busaidi, Amir Abdollahian slammed the U.S. for re-imposing sanctions on Iranian individuals and firms.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready for a good and sustainable agreement, but so far the American side, by some of its excessive demands, has been directly responsible for the protraction of the talks,” the Iranian foreign minister remarked.

Negotiations have been underway since last April to resurrect the nuclear pact, which was abandoned by former U.S. President Donald Trump in May 2018.

In recent months, Iran has blamed Washington's indecision for the protraction of the Vienna talks, since a number of major issues remain unresolved, ranging from the lifting of all post-JCPOA sanctions to the American side's failure to provide guarantees that it would not withdraw from the agreement again.

Iran made all the necessary decisions concerning the Vienna talks which resumed in April last year. Iranian Foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian has recently said that “the ball is now in the United States' court.”

Mohammad Eslami, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), has lambasted the U.S. insistence on proceeding with its “maximum pressure” on Iran, saying the policy has failed. 

“Sanctions and harassment against the Iranian people and country must be removed, and the phase of confidence-building can begin. But they did not fulfill their pledges and chose the maximum pressure method to destroy the revolution and the Islamic Republic. The Islamic Republic not only has not stopped, it has also become more advanced and successful, and they themselves admit that these methods were ineffective and must return to the nuclear agreement again. Please go back to the nuclear agreement. The nuclear agreement is a clear document, and each of them has duties in it, and this is a return to commitments,” he said in an interview with Al Alam.

He added, “Iran has fulfilled all its obligations in good faith, and you who did not abide by your signature, and you did not act according to your signature, everything that was specified in the nuclear agreement must be implemented, so there is no new understanding. The purpose of these negotiations taking place today is to return to the understanding that was reached in the previous period, so all that was pledged must be adhered to. The Agency has repeatedly stressed that there are no deviations in Iran's nuclear program and that it exercises the utmost oversight throughout its history and does not have inspectors in any country like Iran, so everything must return to normal and stop harassing Iran. This is the basic principle of dialogue and understanding, which must be achieved.”

Well-informed sources have revealed to Al-Alam that the United States' obstruction of the Vienna talks was caused by several positions. The first is that Washington refuses to lift sanctions on the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), despite the assertion of many Iranian officials that lifting these sanctions is a priority for Iran.

The sources also revealed that the United States asked Iran to abandon the demand for revenge for the crime of the assassination of General Soleimani.  Washington also demanded that the issue of the Iranian role in the region be raised at the negotiating table, which was totally rejected by Iran.

Amir Abdollahian has said that Iran will never acquiesce to U.S. excessive demands. “If there’s a pause in the Vienna negotiations, that’s because of excessive demands by the U.S. side,” he said.

“We will never give in to excessive demands of the U.S. If the White House acts realistically, a deal is at hand,” Amir Abdollahian said on Twitter. 

Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, has said that the U.S. must make a decision if it wants to reach an agreement in Vienna.

“Iran and Iranians cannot be patient forever. If the United States wants to reach an agreement, it must make a political decision as soon as possible,” Saeed Khatibzadeh asserted.

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