China urges pressure on US to rejoin JCPOA unconditionally

China has called for an “unconditional” US return to the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement and removal of the sanctions it restored against the Islamic Republic after unilaterally abandoning the UN-endorsed agreement.

“The Iranian nuclear issue is at a crucial juncture. The imperative at the moment is for all parties to accelerate implementation of the consensus reached at last December’s foreign ministers’ meeting, push for the unconditional return of the United States to the JCPOA as early as possible, resume compliance and the lifting of all relevant sanctions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Wang said Iran should also return to full compliance with the JCPOA, adding that China is following the situation closely and maintaining close communication with all relevant sides.

“We support a step-by-step and reciprocal approach and will continue to work with relevant parties and the international community to bring the JCPOA back on track and promote the political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue,” he remarked.

Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken drew a stern rebuke from Iranian officials after he said Washington would return to the nuclear deal only after Tehran started to fully honor the deal.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reacted to Blinken’s remarks via Twitter, reminding him that it was the US that violated the JCPOA in 2018 and it is thus up to Washington to take the first step towards diplomacy.

Washington has also called for a “longer and stronger” agreement with Iran encompassing other issues irrelevant to Tehran’s nuclear program, including Iran’s national defense program and influential regional role.

This is while Iran has, on numerous occasions, strongly rejected the idea of negotiations about other issues or a renegotiation of the JCPOA.

EU pressing Biden admin to lift sanctions

A spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday that the EU is pressing the Biden administration to lift the sanctions.

Borrell is “working extremely hard to get the JCPOA back on the rails,” said the spokesman, Peter Stano.

“We’re talking to the American administration to see if those sanctions could be lifted, to see if we can have full implementation of the JCPOA,” Stano added, according to the AFP.