China makes new proposal to save JCPOA at high-level meeting

December 22, 2020 - 21:12

TEHRAN – China has made a new proposal to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers while underlining that the United States' withdrawal from the nuclear deal is the root cause of problems.

The proposal was made on Monday during a ministerial meeting of the parties to the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Monday virtual meeting was attended by the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Hua Chunying, the spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, gave more details about the Chinese proposal while saying that the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA is the root cause of the tensions surrounding Iran.

“The U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA and its maximum pressure on Iran is the root causes of the Iran nuclear issue deviating from the right direction. The US returning to the deal and resuming compliance is the right way for defusing the tensions,” the spokeswoman said in a tweet on Tuesday.

In a Twitter thread, she said Wang made a 4-point proposal during the JCPOA ministerial meeting that include steps to revive the nuclear deal and promote dialogue in the region.

“Wang Yi made a 4-point proposal: 1. Make relentless efforts to uphold the JCPOA and firmly against the maximum pressure. 2. Push for an early and unconditional U.S. return to the JCPOA. The U.S. should lift sanctions on Iran and on third-party entities and individuals. 3. Resolve the compliance issues fairly and impartially. 4. Properly handle regional security issues. China has proposed to establish a multilateral dialogue platform in the [Persian] Gulf region to start an inclusive dialogue process to build consensus on regional security issues through equal consultation and incremental progress,” the spokeswoman said.

The Chinese proposal to establish a regional forum was presented during a visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to China in October. Following the visit, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “China proposes to build a regional multilateral dialogue platform with equal participation of all stakeholders.”

The platform would “enhance mutual understanding through dialogue and explore political and diplomatic solutions to security issues in the Middle East [West Asia]”, the statement added.

Wang said at the time that supports for the Iranian nuclear deal would be a precondition of entry to the regional forum. It seems that the chief Chinese diplomat has once again presented the October proposal during the Monday meeting.

The foreign ministers of Iran, China, France, Germany, the Russian Federation, and the United Kingdom, as well as the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, attended the December 21 meeting during which Russia and China called for U.S. return to the JCPOA without setting preconditions.

“We believe that the U.S. return to the JCPOA should be without any preconditions. Our partners and we are ready for meaningful work in this area, and we are ready to help the Americans to step on the path of correction. This is in our shared interest,” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement following the ministerial meeting.