China urges continuous efforts to uphold Iran nuclear deal

China has once again stressed the importance of upholding the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, amid attempts by the United States to undermine the agreement.

“China believes that no matter how the situation may evolve, continuous efforts to uphold and implement the JCPOA should serve as the basic prerequisite for any political solution to the Iranian nuclear issue,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday, using an abbreviation to refer to the Iran nuclear deal.

She expressed hope that the United States would adopt a rational and practical approach, return to the deal at an early date, and take concrete action to fulfill its due responsibility toward upholding the international non-proliferation system and peace and stability in the Middle East.

Hua also said that China would take part in a Joint Commission of the signatories to the deal at the level of political directors in Vienna on December 16.

“Parties to the JCPOA will assess the current Iranian nuclear situation, review the implementation of the JCPOA, and coordinate next-step actions,” she added.

The United States participated in the negotiations that led to the conclusion of the deal in 2015 and was a party to the agreement until 2018, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled Washington out of the accord and started re-imposing sanctions on Iran.

Since then, the Trump administration has also been attempting to undermine the deal and kill it by preventing the other signatories — Britain, France, China, Russia, and Germany — from implementing their own commitments.

Iran remained fully compliant with the deal for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to fulfill their end of the bargain by offsetting the impacts of American bans on the Iranian economy. But as the European parties failed to do so, the Islamic Republic moved in May 2019 to suspend some of its commitments under Articles 26 and 36 of the deal itself.

The European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell admitted on November 18 that Iran should reap the economic benefits of the deal in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear work.

US President-elect Joe Biden, who was vice-president when the Iran deal was struck, has said he would return the United States to the agreement.