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Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Iranian Nuclear Issue

2023-07-06 19:15

Madam President,

I thank Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo, Ambassador Olof Skoog, the head of EU delegation to the UN, and Ambassador Vanessa Frazier, Permanent Preventative of Malta, for their briefings. 

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear issue is an important outcome of multilateral diplomacy endorsed by the Security Council in its resolutions, and also a key pillar for maintaining the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East. The previous US administration unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and exerted extreme pressure on Iran, which triggered the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Since April 2021, the parties, with the coordination of the EU, have conducted multiple rounds of pragmatic negotiations and at one time we were only one step away from resuming the implementation of the plan. Regrettably, however, negotiations have stalled since August last year, the situation on Iranian nuclear issue has been experiencing ups and downs, and the future prospects have been uncertain. We call on all parties concerned to cherish the hard-won results of the negotiations, demonstrate political wisdom, break down key obstacles, and reach consensus on restoring the integrity of the JCPOA and its effective implementation as soon as possible. I would like to make four points in this regard. 

First, it is imperative that all parties make greater efforts to start the process of resuming talks as soon as possible. In March this year, Iran and the IAEA issued a joint statement on outstanding safeguards issues and recently also achieved substantive progress in advancing the resumption of verification, addressing compliance concerns, and other issues. The US and other relevant parties should seize the positive momentum, adopt a pragmatic approach, move in the same direction as Iran, and promote the early return of the JCPOA to the right track. The EU, as the coordinator of the plan, should play a more active and more constructive role. 

Second, China supports all efforts to help ease the situation on the Iranian nuclear issue, and believes that relevant efforts should preserve the consensus achieved in previous negotiations, address the legitimate and reasonable concerns of all parties in a balanced manner, and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of all parties. Otherwise, no effort will likely bear fruit, and even if it did, it will be unlikely to be sustainable. China calls upon the US to lift all unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction measures against Iran and any third party, to stop the wrongful threat of use of force, and to create favorable conditions for an early and full resumption of implementation. 

Third, the current Iranian nuclear situation is at a critical juncture and all parties should maintain a rational attitude, treat the Iranian nuclear issue separately from other issues, and avoid any negative move that could escalate the situation and undermine the political and diplomatic solution. This explains why China just now voted against the proposal in the procedural vote. We hope that similar situations that would further complicate the Iranian nuclear issue would not happen again. At the same time, we advocate that Security Council should play a constructive role on the Iranian nuclear issue. Some of the restrictive measures in Resolution 2231 will expire in October this year, and the farce around the snapback mechanism in 2020 should not be repeated. 

Fourth, Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed a Global Security Initiative, advocating a common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security concept, which provides useful inspiration for addressing security issues in the Middle East. Not long ago, the historic resumption of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia through the Beijing dialogue has injected momentum and hope for a political solution to the Iranian nuclear issue and other hotspots issues in the Middle East and for the comprehensive reconciliation in the region, China stands ready to work with all parties to uphold true multilateralism, implement the Global Security Initiative, share a common security path, and join hands in building a new security architecture in the Middle East and achieve long-term peace and security in the region. 

Madam President, 

As a permanent member of the Security Council and a participant in the JCPOA, China has always been committed to maintaining the effectiveness of the plan and the authority of the Council resolutions and has always in a constructive manner participated in the political and diplomatic solution of the Iranian nuclear issue. We are ready to keep up close contact with all parties to push the JCPOA back on the right track at an earlier date and maintain the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East. 

Thank you, President.

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