China urges US to rejoin Iran nuclear deal

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying urged the incoming Biden administration to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “as early as possible” and without any preconditions

January 20, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
China urges US to rejoin JCPOA
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. (Photo: PressTV)

Echoing similar calls from across the world, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying too urged the Joe Biden administration to rejoin the 2015 Iran nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) “as early as possible” and without any preconditions. She was addressing a regular press conference in Beijing on Wednesday, January 20, a few hours before Joe Biden assumed the office. The statement came shortly after Biden’s nominee for secretary of state said that the process of rejoining the deal was a long way away.

She also called the US to lift all unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran since the Trump administration withdrew from the deal in 2018 and said that “China hopes that all parties concerned should play a constructive role in bringing the JCPOA back on track and promoting the political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue,” Iranian PressTV reported.

During his election campaign, Joe Biden had promised to reverse Trump’s decision and rejoin the deal. He was the vice-president in the Barack Obama administration which had signed the deal with Iran along with five other countries: the UK, France, Germany, China and Russia.

On Tuesday, Anthony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for the secretary of state, said during the Senate confirmation hearing that he would seek to renew the nuclear deal with Iran and make it longer and stronger, hinting at including other aspects of Iran’s policies in the deal. However, Iran has objected to attempts to widen the deal to include Iran’s regional policies as demanded by the Trump administration. Blinken also said that the process for the US to rejoin the deal is “long way” away, dashing the hopes of progressive sections who had lobbied for Biden to do it as soon as possible.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK, an anti-war collective in the US, objected to Blinken’s proposal to use sanction-imposed distress in Iran for bargaining to expand the deal. She called it sickening.

Chunying also urged Iran to resume full compliance to the deal and asked other signatories to not put any preconditions to comply with the deal.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign minister Javad Zarif maintained that three European signatories of the deal did nothing to save it after the US withdrawal and if the deal survives, it is primarily due to the Iranian efforts. He was replying to a joint statement issued by the three European signatories on Saturday blaming Iran for working on uranium metal-based fuel which has military implications, calling it violation of the deal.

Iran has reversed some of its commitments under JCPOA after pointing out that other signatories have failed to take steps to protect Iran after the US imposed sanctions which gives Iran the right under the deal to reverse its commitments. Iran has also claimed that all the reversals from its side are completely reversible once the US re-joins or withdraw its unilateral sanctions imposed by the Trump administration under its so called “maximum pressure campaign.”

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