News ID: 253011
Published: 0302 GMT May 18, 2019

Zarif: There will be no war and no one can confront Iran

Zarif: There will be no war and no one can confront Iran

China opposes unilateral US sanctions, supports Iran to safeguard its legitimate interests

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday he did not believe a war would break out in the region as Tehran did not want a conflict and no country had the “illusion it could confront Iran”.

“There will be no war because neither we want a war, nor has anyone the idea or illusion that it can confront Iran in the region,” Zarif told IRNA before ending his visit to China.

Tensions have escalated in recent days, with growing concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict. The US deployed an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf, one of the world's most strategic waterways, last week over alleged threats from Iran.

Meeting in Beijing on Friday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Zarif that given the important and rapidly-evolving situation, the two needed to strengthen communication and coordination.

Wang offered China’s strong support to Iran, saying that Beijing opposes unilateral sanctions and backs Tehran's efforts to safeguard its interests.

"China resolutely opposes the US implementation of unilateral sanctions and so-called 'long arm jurisdiction', understands the current situation and concerns of the Iranian side, and supports the Iranian side to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests," China's Foreign Ministry paraphrased Wang as saying.

China appreciates Iran's full implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal and intention to stick to it, Wang added.

"The dispute surrounding the Iranian nuclear agreement is essentially a contest between multilateralism and unilateralism," he said.

Iran signed the deal with China, Russia, Germany, Britain, France and the United States. International sanctions were eased in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program.

But last year US President Donald Trump walked away from the accord. The US has since then slapped sweeping sanctions on Iran.

China's Foreign Ministry cited Zarif as saying that Iran has no intention to withdraw from the nuclear agreement and opposes war. "The Strait of Hormuz maintains its status as an international transportation channel," the statement cited Zarif as saying.

Before meeting Wang, Zarif urged China and Russia to take "concrete action" to safeguard the nuclear deal as he warned of a "dangerous" situation amid rising tensions with the US.

“So far, the international community has mainly made statements instead of saving the deal… Safeguarding the nuclear accord is possible through practical measures, and not only through supportive statements," Zarif said.

“The practical step is quite clear: Economic relations with Iran should be normalized. This is what the deal clearly addresses.”

On May 8, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran would stop observing restrictions on stocks of enriched uranium and heavy water agreed under the nuclear deal in retaliation for the US withdrawal and the reimposition of sanctions.

In his announcement, Rouhani threatened to go further if the European members of the deal failed to start delivering on their promises to help Iran circumvent US sanctions within 60 days.

"If the international community and other JCPOA member countries and our friends in the JCPOA like China and Russia want to keep this achievement, it is required that they make sure the Iranian people enjoy the benefits of the JCPOA with concrete actions," he added.

Reuters and AFP contributed to this story.


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