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China says US should ‘unconditionally’ lift Iran sanctions, return to 2015 nuclear deal

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian says the US should “unconditionally” and immediately return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and lift all sanctions against Tehran.

The Chinese official said Washington should fulfill its duties under the historic deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plane of Action (JCPOA).   

“We hope that the new US administration will return to the JCPOA and resume compliance as soon as possible and unconditionally, lift all relevant sanctions, take concrete actions to fulfill its duties, and advance the process of political settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue and safeguard regional peace and stability,” Zhao said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

The remarks came in reaction to Monday comments by Jake Sullivan, UA President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for national security adviser.

Sullivan said that the incoming administration wants to put Iran “back into the box” by rejoining the nuclear deal and forcing Tehran to comply with the terms of the agreement, which would lay the groundwork for a “follow-on negotiation” on broader issues.

In 2018, the US administration of Donald Trump quit the JCPOA, which was clinched between Iran and world powers, and returned its unilateral sanctions that had been lifted as per the accord.

Under its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, the US also prodded other signatories into falling into line and stopping trade with Tehran or face Washington’s punitive sanctions.

Although the US officially said that it had left the JCPOA, and was no longer a party to the agreement, it pointed the finger of blame at Iran, accusing the country of failing to keep its side of the bargain, in blatant disregard for numerous reports by the UN nuclear agency that verified Tehran’s compliance.

Iran remained totally committed to the JCPOA even after the US left the accord, but it took steps to suspend its obligations one year after the US departure in retaliation for the draconian sanctions and also the failure of the European parties — the UK, France and Germany — to guarantee trade with Iran.

Iran says the countermeasures are reversible as soon as the country can reap the economic benefits of the JCPOA.

Russia and China, the other two signatories to the JCPOA, have on numerous occasions asked the US to return to the deal, comply with its commitments and put an end to its unilateral sanctions against Iran.

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