Beijing resolved to keep JCPOA alive: Chinese envoy

February 26, 2020 - 19:44

TEHRAN - Wang Qun, the Chinese envoy to the Vienna-based international organizations, said on Wednesday that his country will do its best to save the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the official name for the 2015 nuclear deal. 

The Chinese envoy’s remarks came at the end of a meeting of joint commission of the JCPOA in the Austrian capital.

Wang told reporters that members of the commission have different views over activating the JCPOA dispute resolution mechanism.

He further underscored that there was no debate in the Wednesday meeting over the mechanism.

The Chinese diplomat said that the commission’s member states are firmly trying to keep the nuclear deal.  

The envoy warned of consequences of the U.S. attempt to reimpose UN-ratified sanctions against Iran. 

Also at the end of the commission meeting, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia's permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, said, “The participants in the joint commission of the JCPOA reaffirmed their adherence to the deal which is supposed as an important element in engineering Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.”

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and European Union foreign policy Chief Josep Borrell met in Tehran, discussing the JCPOA. 

Zarif and Borrell held two rounds of talks at the time. 

It was the first trip to Tehran by Borrell who replaced Federica Mogherini. He was accompanied by a delegation in his visit to Tehran.

In a separate meeting with Borrell, President Hassan Rouhani criticized the European Union for failing to honor its commitments under the JCPOA when the U.S. quit the deal and reinstituted sanctions on Iran.

In May 2019, Iran started to reduce its commitments to the JCPOA at bi-monthly intervals in response to the abrogation of the pact by the U.S. coupled with the European Union’s inaction to shield Iran’s economy from sanctions. 

Rouhani said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is still ready to cooperate with the European Union for resolving issues, and at any time that the other side (EU) fully observes its commitments Iran will also return to its commitments.”

Rouhani said the JCPOA was the fruit of 12 years of negotiations but its implementation has faced serious hurdles due to the U.S. unilateral exit from the agreement.

The Iranian president went on to say that his country has been fully committed to the inspection of its nuclear activities by the International Atomic Energy Agency and this policy will continue “otherwise we face a new condition”.

Rouhani also described European countries as Iran’s traditional partners and said Tehran attaches great importance to Europe.

The president also expressed hope that Iran-EU relations would expand through the efforts of the European Union high representative.
In his meeting with Rouhani, Borrell also said he will use his utmost efforts to keep the nuclear deal alive.

“As the High Representative of the European Union Foreign Policy I will use my utmost energy to create a strong interaction in line with protecting the JCPOA,” Borrell said.

Borrell also said, “I am sorry that the European sides have failed to fulfill their commitments.”

France, Germany and the United Kingdom, the three European states signatory to the JCPOA, issued a joint statement on January 14 announcing they have formally triggered the JCPOA dispute resolution mechanism which could bring the Iran nuclear issue before the UN Security Council.

Borrell said on January 24 that he had extended the time available to discuss ways to save the nuclear deal.

“There is agreement that more time is needed due to the complexity of the issues involved. The timeline is therefore extended,” Borrell said in a statement at the time.

In January, Zarif had warned Iran would consider quitting the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) if the Europeans would refer Iran’s nuclear case to the UN Security Council.

“If they (Europeans) take any action, the issue of quitting the NPT will be raised based on the letter of the President dating May 2018,” Zarif said at the time.