European parties to the Iran nuclear deal did not trigger a mechanism that could lead to the renewal of UN sanctions at talks in Vienna on Friday, China’s envoy said.
“All countries need to refrain from taking actions that further complicate the situation,” Fu Cong, director general of the Department of Arms Control of the Chinese Foreign Ministry told reporters after the talks.
“In our view, there is an element of automaticity into this and we can’t be sure that countries can keep this process under control. It could aggravate tensions,” Fu said.
He added that the European powers had not indicated whether they would trigger the mechanism, but all parties had urged Iran to return to full compliance to the 2015 accord after several steps away from the deal over the last few months.
Envoys from Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and Iran took part in the meeting, which was the first time the six parties gathered in this format since July.
Since May, Iran has taken a series of measures including stepping up uranium enrichment with another such move likely in early January.
Iran insists that under the multinational agreement, it has the right to take these measures in retaliation for the US withdrawal from the deal in 2018 and its reimposition of crippling sanctions on Iranian economy.
Since last month, European members have in turn begun raising the possibility of triggering the so-called "dispute resolution mechanism" foreseen in the accord, which could lead to the resumption of UN sanctions on Iran.
The Chinese diplomat further said all participants called on the US to lift Iran sanctions in order to “allow more diplomatic efforts."
“All sides have expressed their support for the nuclear agreement and there is a strong will from all countries to implement it fully and effectively,” Fu said.
He also urged Iran to return to full implementation of the accord and “all other countries at the same time to do their utmost for Iran to receive the economic benefits of deal.”
Reuters, AFP and IRNA contributed to this story.