Feb 22, 2021 16:47 UTC
  • China urges US to return to JCPOA as only way out of nuclear impasse

China’s Foreign Ministry has called on the United States to rejoin a multilateral 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers as the only way to end the current dead-end and resolve the standoff over the Islamic Republic's nuclear program.

“China always believes that the return of the United States to the comprehensive agreement is the only correct way to resolve the Iranian nuclear deadlock,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters on Monday.

According to Press TV, he urged Washington and its allies to boost their sense of urgency and return to the negotiating table with Iran, adding that all parties should act with “calmness and restraint” and avoid action that may escalate the situation.

He also welcomed a last-minute agreement reached between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to extend the UN nuclear body’s access to Iranian nuclear sites, albeit with less monitoring capability, for a further three months.

The agreement was reached between Ali Akbar Salehi, the Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), and Rafael Grossi, the Director General of the IAEA, in Tehran on Sunday.

Grossi's official day-long visit to Tehran came after Tehran officially informed the IAEA of its decision to end the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which allows the Agency's inspectors to carry out closer inspections of Iran’s nuclear program.

Wang said, "The IAEA and Iran through dialogue and consultations were able to reach a technical understanding on monitoring and verification activities acceptable to both sides. China welcomes and appreciates this."

He expressed hope that "the parties will continue to work in the same direction and implement the achieved consensus."

On December 1, 2020, Iranian lawmakers overwhelmingly voted in favor of the 'Strategic Action Plan to Lift Sanctions and Safeguard Interests of Iranian People', which intends to counteract sanctions imposed on Iran. 

The law is a firm reaction to Washington’s 2018 withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – and the illegal sanctions the US has imposed against Iran since then.

In recent weeks, Tehran and Washington have been at loggerheads over which side should first return to compliance with the JCPOA, which former US President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018.