|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Briefing on Iran Nuclear Issue|
I thank the three briefers for their briefings. And I welcome the presence of the representatives from Iran and Germany to this meeting.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a major outcome of multilateral diplomacy, which was 10 years in the making and approved by the Security Council. It forms a critical pillar in the international non-proliferation regime and in peace and stability in the Middle East. Three years ago, the United States insisted on withdrawing from the JCPOA, which caused the situation of Iran nuclear issue to take a turn for the worse and the crisis has persisted to this day. However, since April this year, parties have started their negotiations on returning to the agreement in Vienna and have made important progress. This will create new opportunities for the US and Iran to return to compliance with the JCPOA.
The international community attaches great importance to the resumption of negotiations on the Iran nuclear issue and generally expects that the positive results can be achieved, which in turn will bring some positivity and new hope to the world that is currently caught up in so much uncertainty and instability. Therefore, relevant parties must persevere in their commitment, seize opportunities, and meet each other halfway in mutual understanding and accommodation, with a view to moving the negotiations forward along the right path until we finally realize the goal of being returned to compliance with the JCPOA. China wishes to share the following points.
First, there has to be an early decision at the political level. Dialogue and negotiations are the only way forward to resolve the Iran nuclear issue. Parties should remain committed to a political solution, be engaged in the process with full sincerity, respect mutual legitimate rights and reasonable concerns and restore the balance between the rights and obligations in the JCPOA, so as to return to the agreement in both letters and spirits. Parties that should properly address the basic issues about the negotiations and aim for some early gains, which will help maintain the negotiation process. For the outstanding issues, it is important to look for and expand consensus, while playing down political differences, demonstrating diplomatic wisdom, showing flexibility and exploring innovative solutions. They must not shy away from taking critical steps with a view to achieving early results in the negotiations.
Second, lifting unilateral illegal sanctions. The United States, through its unilateral withdrawal from the agreement and by applying continued maximum pressure on Iran, is the party that has started in the current Iran nuclear crisis. The US side has been very vocal in advocating the return of multilateralism and diplomacy. The resumption of negotiations is a litmus test of its attitude. It goes without saying that the United States should first and foremost lift all the illegal sanctions on Iran and third parties. And in return, Iran should resume full compliance with the agreement. The United States, while expressing its eagerness to return to the negotiations, announced just a day or so ago an escalation in its sanctions against Iran. This move is in contravention of international law and the basic norms of international relations. It shows a total disregard of the call from the international community and is not conducive in any way to advance the negotiation process, which China expresses its deep concern. We hope that the United States will take concrete actions to earn the trust of the international community by demonstrating more sincerity and flexibility and working harder towards an early consensus.
Third, creating an environment favorable to negotiations. Repeated hyping of Iran's missile launch, exerting pressure through the IAEA, preaching at every time the plan B in the event of a negotiation failure and threatening to trigger the Council's snapback mechanism only serve to impede the current negotiation process, undermine the efforts to preserve the JCPOA and further complicate the situation on the Iran nuclear issue. All parties should earnestly remove such interference, and make sure that negotiations do not veer off into an extreme and wrong direction. In turn, Iran is expected to show understanding towards the concerns about its rapid development in nuclear capability, maintain constructive cooperation with the IAEA and find solutions to outstanding issues as soon as possible.
NPT is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and has an important role to play in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. The cooperation among the US, UK and Australia on nuclear submarines involves the transfer of weapon-grade nuclear material and constitutes a serious risk of nuclear proliferation. It will also negatively affect the political and diplomatic solution of the Iran nuclear issue. Such a double standard that undermines the objectives and the purposes of the NPT must be corrected.
Four, maintaining regional peace and stability. As long as the Middle East remains unstable, there can hardly be peace in the world. The Iran nuclear issue has a direct bearing on the situation in the Middle East. Maintaining the JCPOA is in essence to maintain regional peace and stability. Regional countries should adhere to dialogue under negotiations to resolve differences, while countries from the outside should provide constructive assistance in easing regional tensions, rather than creating antagonism and fueling confrontations in the region, and much less to linking issues of regional security with negotiations on the returning to the JCPOA. The five-point initiative on realizing peace and stability in the Middle East proposed by China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, i.e. mutual respect, equity and justice, nuclear non-proliferation, collective security and development cooperation, embodies China's sincere hopes and a sense of responsibility for promoting peace and tranquility in the Middle East. We are ready to continue to be engaged with the parties on this initiative and regional situation.
The COVID-19 pandemic remains grim and wreaking havoc around the world. As a result of the double whammy of pandemic and sanctions, Iran's economy and people's livelihood have been seriously affected. In his report, the Secretary-General has called upon countries to support the international effort of trade exchanges and operations through procurement channel to help the country meet the challenges of pandemic. China shares this view and has within its ability provided material to Iran, including vaccines. We will continue in our own way to help Iran to fight the pandemic.
As a permanent member of the Security Council and a party to the JCPOA, China has been committed to preserving the effectiveness of the agreement, maintaining Council's authority and safeguarding the integrity of the international non-proliferation regime. Since August of this year, China's President Xi Jinping has held phone conversations with the heads of state of both Iran and the United States respectively, while China's State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has remained in contact and coordination with the parties concerned on this issue. China will continue to practice true multilateralism, actively participate in the negotiations on the return to the JCPOA, and play a constructive role in bringing the JCPOA back to the right path, promoting a political and diplomatic solution to the issue, maintaining the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the peace and stability in the Middle East.
Thank you, Mr. President.