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Chinese UN envoy urges US to respond to demands by Iran

By MINLU ZHANG at the United Nations | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-07-01 11:09
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Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN [Photo/Xinhua]

China's ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday urged the US to "face up to its responsibility" and "take concrete measures" to respond to "the reasonable demands of Iran".

At the UN Security Council briefing, Zhang Jun, China's permanent representative to the UN, said the society needs to go by the "correct logic of right and wrong" to put Iranian nuclear talks on the right track.

"The previous US administration, in disregard of objections from the international community, unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and launched a maximum pressure campaign against Iran," Zhang said. "We must admit that is the root cause of the current Iranian nuclear crisis."

The 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), was designed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Former US president Donald Trump pulled the US out of the JCPOA in 2018. On the campaign trail, US President Joe Biden had promised to undo his predecessor's decisions.

"As the one responsible for the Iranian nuclear crisis, the United States should face up to its responsibility, correct its mistake once and for all, make a political decision as soon as possible, and take concrete measures to respond positively to the reasonable demands of Iran," Zhang said.

While repeatedly stating its readiness to seek a return to compliance, "the United States is nevertheless escalating sanctions against Iran and third parties even during the process of resumed talks", he continued.

"Doing so is obviously detrimental to any positive progress in the talks. The US should live up to its words and lift all relevant unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction measures against Iran, so that Iran can fully partake of the economic dividends of the JCPOA," Zhang said.

Zhang said abandoning double standards is important to the Iranian nuclear issue.

The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) is "the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime", and "plays a vital role in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons", he said. "All parties must strictly abide by the NPT."

"The cooperation between the US, the UK, and Australia on nuclear submarines is the first time since the NPT was concluded that a nuclear weapon state has openly transferred nuclear weapon materials to a non-nuclear weapon stage," Zhang said.

Australia joined an Indo-Pacific security partnership with the US and UK in September last year, allowing it to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

"Regardless of how the three countries may choose to name their nuclear submarine cooperation, the very essence of their nuclear proliferation behavior cannot be concealed, its negative impact on the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue cannot be undone, the risk it poses to regional peace and stability is a reality that cannot be changed.

"The practice of applying double standards to the detriment of the objectives and purposes of the NPT must be rectified in order to maintain the authority and effectiveness of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime," Zhang said.

To keep the resumed Iranian nuclear talks on the right track with a view to an early and positive outcome, the international society needs to adhere to the "overarching goal of a political solution", the envoy said.

"There is no better alternative to the agreement, as dialogue and consultation is the only right way forward in the resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis," he emphasized.

China welcomes and supports all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis and appreciates the recent good offices by the European Union (EU), Zhang said. "We hope that the EU, as the coordinator, will continue to play its unique role and work harder to encourage greater flexibility from the parties."

Eliminating interference in the negotiation process is another point to keep Iranian nuclear talks on the right track, said Zhang. "All parties should be guided by reason, exercise restraint, and refrain from taking unconstructive steps that would cause a spiraling of tensions."

Zhang said China will continue to maintain an impartial and objective position, firmly safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the JCPOA and Council Resolution 2231, and constructively participate in the negotiations on the return to compliance, to facilitate the agreement's early return to the right track.

According to Iranian reports, indirect talks between Iran and the US ended in Doha, Qatar on Wednesday with no sign of a breakthrough in efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

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