Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Wednesday that the deal — officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — should be fully implemented.
He also said that all sides to the JCPOA had a responsibility to ensure the implementation of the multilateral agreement.
The remarks came shortly after Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced the suspension of some of the country’s commitments under the JCPOA on Tuesday, precisely a year after it was unilaterally abandoned by Washington.
Ever since that time, Iran has been warning that, for it to continue to stay in the deal, other parties have to work to offset any negative impacts caused by America’s withdrawal. That has not happened in practice, Tehran has argued.
In his Wednesday speech, which was broadcast on national television, President Rouhani said that Iran would stop exporting excess uranium and heavy water for a 60-day period, during which time the remaining signatories to the deal would have to honor their promises and ensure that Iran is no more deprived of the economic benefits that it was promised under the deal.
The Iranian president said Iran had exercised “strategic patience” since Washington’s unilateral exit from the deal in May 2018, adding that the country would now take a new approach that would nevertheless remain based on dialog and the 2015 deal itself.
“Today, we do not want to withdraw from the JCPOA,” he said. “All the people of the world should know that today is not the end of the JCPOA; it is a new step within the framework of the JCPOA.”
Later on Wednesday, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said that Paris, London, and Berlin — the three European signatories to the deal — were doing all they could to keep the agreement alive.
She told BFM TV that nothing would be worse than Iran withdrawing from the deal, warning that if Tehran were to violate its commitments, the question of triggering a mechanism that could lead to sanctions would be on the table.
President Rouhani had already said in his speech that if the remaining parties to the deal took Iran’s suspension of some of its commitments — which has been envisaged under the agreement itself — as a pretext to take Iran’s case to the United Nations Security Council, a “very decisive response” would await them.
Separately, the Kremlin said Iran’s move Tuesday to suspend some of its commitments had been provoked by external pressure on the country.
“President (Putin) has repeatedly spoken of the consequences of unthought-out steps regarding Iran and by that I mean the decision taken by Washington. Now we are seeing those consequences are starting to happen,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call, apparently referring to the US decision to quit and to impose sanctions on Iran.
President Donald Trump, who pulled the US out of the Iran deal, has also initiated a campaign of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic Republic, re-imposing sanctions against the country and attempting to sabotage foreign business with it.