Fri, 16 Apr 2021

VIENNA, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Wang Qun, Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, on Tuesday gave an interview to major Chinese and foreign media on the U.S. and Iran's return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) implementation.

Q1: What is the focus of the Joint Commission meeting of the JCPOA? Any concrete results? How long will it last? When would the U.S. and Iran agree to return to full JCPOA implementation?

Wang: The current Joint Commission Meeting was convened at a critical moment, and all parties agreed to vigorously implement the foreign ministers' consensus reached at their meeting last December and to help get the U.S. and Iran back to full and effective implementation of the JCPOA at an early date.

The current meeting has launched two processes -- the nuclear implementation and sanction-lifting working groups' work, and the "proximity talks" with the United States. The two working groups have already started their work straight away.

It is the hope of China that all parties will sustain such momentum in a bid to reach an early consensus on getting the U.S. and Iran back to full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, and bring the JCPOA onto the normal track as soon as possible.

Q2: Recently, all parties have had intensive interaction on the U.S. and Iran's return to the implementation of the JCPOA. Has China done its part?

Wang: The JCPOA is an important achievement of multilateralism reached through arduous efforts. China has, by proceeding from the overall interests of safeguarding multilateralism and the authority of the United Nations Security Council, always been playing an active and important role in upholding the JCPOA, and has worked hard to help bring the JCPOA back to its full and effective implementation.

First, China has, to this end, provided robust political support. As you may recall, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi put forward a four-point proposition on the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue at the foreign ministers' meeting last December, in a bid to advance political and diplomatic solution.

Second, China has participated in successive Joint Commission meetings and contributed to its work. China has worked hard to help cement the consensus of all parties to safeguard the JCPOA and facilitate the launching of the negotiating process of a formula to get the U.S. and Iran to fully and effectively implement the JCPOA.

Third, China has worked hard on major parties through bilateral channels to forge consensus. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu, has recently had several telephone conversations with Robert Mally, the U.S. president's special envoy for Iran.

In those telephone conversations, Ma urged the U.S., as the party responsible for its unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA, to show its sincerity by taking earnest and earliest action, such as the lifting of unlawful unilateral sanctions against Iran and the abolition of its long-arm jurisdictional measures, including those on China.

In the meantime, China has also worked on Iran through various channels, urging it together with U.S. to get back to the implementation of the JCPOA at an early date.

In addition, in light of certain countries' pushes at the UN Security Council for a presidential statement on the Iranian nuclear issue, and their pushes for an anti-Iran resolution in the meeting of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency last month, China has vehemently registered its explicit oppositions, and has thus helped to do away with the disruption of efforts to have the U.S. and Iran return to the JCPOA implementation.

In addition, China has also proposed to establish a multilateral dialogue platform among the Gulf countries, so as to address the concerns of all countries through equal consultations and forge new consensus, and through new channels on maintaining regional peace and stability.

In a nutshell, China has done its utmost to push the JCPOA back to normal track. We have done our part, and we will, of course, continue to make unremitting efforts to this end.

Q3: Iran has insisted that the United States lift all sanctions before its return to the JCPOA. How does China look at this issue?

Wang: This is a question involving the fundamental principle of rights and wrongs. As a victim, Iran's legitimate requirement should, in the first place, be affirmed and catered for.

The current status of the Iranian issue is undoubtedly attributable to the U.S. pullout of the JCPOA, and its maximum pressure policy towards Iran. And Iran has subsequently been compelled to reduce its commitments to implementing the JCPOA as a countermeasure.

We in China have a saying that "the one who ties the knot should be the one to undo it."

In order to break the current impasse, it is imperative that the U.S. return to the JCPOA at an early date by lifting all unlawful and unilateral sanctions.

It's a correct choice for the new U.S. administration to decide to return to the JCPOA. We commend such an effort.

However, the U.S. should, if it is serious, lift all its unlawful sanctions against Iran. In the meantime, it should abolish all its long-arm jurisdiction measures against entities and individuals in third countries including China.

This is exactly how it should be for the U.S. for returning to the JCPOA, and it's also a legitimate requirement. In parallel, Iran should, on this basis, get back to its full implementation of the JCPOA accordingly.

Q4: The United States has always called for negotiations to resolve regional security issues involving Iran. Some European countries have also expressed the sentiment to negotiate an upgraded version of the JCPOA. What's China's view on this?

Wang: The most urgent work is to get the U.S. and Iran back to full and effective implementation of the JCPOA at an early date. This is preciously the focus and subject matter dealt with at the Joint Commission meeting.

As for the role of the JCPOA, it is desirable to look at it from a historic perspective. The original intention of its negotiation is to address the Iranian nuclear issue rather than all regional security issues.

This is a fact of life concerning the Middle East's regional security dilemma. And it is clear and known to all JCPOA participants and the U.S.

As for the relevant concern on regional security, it's imperative that it be separated and dealt with at a different platform vis-a-vis the JCPOA.

China has proposed that, under the premise of safeguarding the JCPOA, a multilateral dialogue platform in the Gulf region should be established to discuss current security issues in the region, so as to address the concerns of various countries through equal consultations, and forge new consensus on maintaining regional peace and stability. China is open on how the initiative be put into practice.

Q5: The Iranian side openly refused to have any direct or indirect talks with the U.S. at any levels. And the U.S. State Department spokesperson also said that the U.S. did not anticipate to have direct dialogues with Iran anytime soon. How, do you think, to achieve indirect contact between the U.S. and Iran?

Wang: To launch "proximity talks" is one of the results registered at the Joint Commission meeting. This is the result of hard efforts made by China as well as all other JCPOA participants in recent months, though with the caveat that specific modalities of such talks will be further worked out.

We appreciate and will continue to support the European Union, as the Joint Commission meeting's coordinator, to play its positive role in the communication between the U.S. and Iran.

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