China says it considers US President Donald Trump’s trademark policy of “maximum pressure” to be the underlying reason for Iran’s retaliatory decision to reduce more of its commitments under a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal, which Washington abandoned last year.
“We have emphasized on many previous occasions that the US’s maximum pressure is the root cause of the current fraught tensions,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, AFP reported.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday announced that Tehran has exceeded the 300-kilogram limit on its low-enriched uranium production in line with paragraphs 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
It came as part of Tehran’s countermeasures in response to Washington’s departure from the deal last May as well as the failure of the remaining signatories — France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China — to meet their obligations under the agreement.
Tehran initiated its countermeasures in May, the anniversary of Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 accord. It said it was taking the retaliatory measures to prompt the deal’s European partners to stop throwing only verbal support behind the accord, and actually safeguard Iran’s business interests in the face of the sanctions that the US reinstated on Iran following its withdrawal — something that the JCPOA obliges them to do.
Iran says its reactions fit within its rights under paragraphs 26 and 36 of the nuclear deal, and that it will reverse the measures once its demands are met.
Geng added that “China regrets the measures taken by Iran,” but at the same time called on “all parties to view this from a long-term and overall perspective, exercise restraint, and uphold the JCPOA together so that there won’t be further escalation in the tense situation.”
Russia urges Europe to fulfill JCPOA commitments
Meanwhile, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged Europe to honor its responsibilities to help save the deal.
“I would very much want our European colleagues to understand the full measure of their responsibility for preserving” the JCPOA,” Lavrov, adding that the European parties should “safeguard Iran’s economic interests” and help it sell its oil, a main target of US sanctions.
He also called on Tehran “to show sangfroid.”
France, however, took a cautionary tone, with President Emmanuel Macron calling on Iran to “immediately” diminish its enriched uranium reserves.
Macron added that he had “noted with concern” Tehran’s surpassing of the limit.