China on Monday called on the United States to lift its unilateral sanctions on Iran to reduce tensions in the Middle East and clear the way for the implementation of a 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world powers.
“We urge the US to abandon its ‘maximum pressure campaign’ and avoid setting more obstacles for other parties to implement the deal,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in a regular briefing in Beijing in response to IRNA.
Hua said China has repeatedly expressed its opposition to “US unilateral sanctions” on Iran.
“China has made clear its position many times. The Iranian issue led to the recent escalation of tensions in the Middle East, and the root cause is nothing more than the US unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction,” she said.
Hua spoke a day after an emergency meeting between Iran and the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal in Vienna.
Representatives from Iran, Germany, France, Britain, China, Russia and the European Union participated in the meeting in an effort to save the landmark agreement more than a year after the US pulled out of it and reinstated sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
After the meeting, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi hailed the talks as “good” and “constructive”, saying all the parties are still “determined to save this deal.”
Iran wants the remaining signatories to offset sanctions US President Donald Trump has reimposed.
“As we have said, we will continue to reduce our commitments to the deal until Europeans secure Iran’s interests under the deal,” Araqchi said.
The parties came together after Iran began to scale back its commitments to the nuclear deal in response to US sanctions.
So far, Iran has crossed the limit of its enriched uranium stockpile as well as enriching uranium beyond a 3.67 percent purity limit set by the deal.
In her press conference, Hua echoed the remarks of the Chinese delegation head at the Vienna meeting, who had said that all parties to the deal want to safeguard the accord and “continue to implement the JCPOA (the nuclear deal) in a balanced manner.”
“All parties firmly oppose the US impeding other countries from implementing the deal by imposing unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction. They all promised to take measures to mitigate the impact of such unilateral sanctions,” she said.
Speaking after the emergency meeting, Fu Cong, the Chinese representative said, “All sides have expressed their strong opposition against the US unilateral imposition of sanctions.”
The remaining signatories and Iran have been trying to salvage the pact since the US withdrawal.
However, their efforts to protect trade with Iran against the US sanctions have yielded nothing concrete so far.
Iran has called on Europe to accelerate its efforts.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Reuters contributed to this story.