Ambassador Wang Qun's Interview with Chinese and Foreign Media on U.S. and Iran's Return to JCPOA Implementation

April 6, 2021

Weapon Program: 

  • Nuclear

On 6 April, Ambassador Wang Qun, Chinese envoy to the UN in Vienna, accepted interviews with major Chinese and foreign media and answered the following questions:

1. What is the focus of today's Joint Commission meeting of the JCPOA, any concrete results? How long it will last? When will U.S. and Iran get back to full JCPOA implementation?

The current Joint Commission Meeting was convened at a critical juncture, and all parties agreed to vigorously implement the foreign ministers consensus reached at their meeting by getting the U.S. and Iran back to  full and effective implementation of JCPOA at an early date.

The current session has lunched two processes, firstly, the nuclear implementation and sanction-lifting working groups' work; and secondly, the "proximity talks" with the U.S. As of today, 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 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.

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

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

First, China has, to this end, provided robust political support. As you may recall, 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 last September foreign ministers meeting, in a bid to advance political and diplomatic solution.

Second, China has participated in successive JC meetings and contributed to its work. China has worked hard to help cement the consensus of all parties to safeguard JCPOA and facilitate the lunching of the negotiating process of a formula to get the U.S. and Iran to full and effective implementation of JCPOA.

Third, China has worked hard on major parties through bilateral channels to forge consensus. Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu, has recently had several telephone conversations with Mr. Robert Mally, the U.S. President's special envoy for Iran, urging the U.S., as the party responsible for its unilateral withdraw from the JCPOA, to show its sincerity by taking earnest and earliest action, including the lifting of unlawful unilateral sanctions against Iran and 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 the light of certain countries' push, at the Security Council, for the presidential statement on the Iranian nuclear issue, and, at IAEA's Board of Governors's meeting last March, China has vehemently registered its explicit opposition, and has thus helped to do away with the disruption of efforts to get the U.S. And Iran to 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 channel, 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.

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

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 JCPOA, and its maxim pressure policy towards Iran. And Iran has subsequently compelled to reduce its commitments to implement the JCPOA as a countermeasure. We, in China have a saying to the effect that, "The one who tie the knot should be the one to undo it. So, to break the current impasse, it is imperative that the U.S. return to 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 JCPOA. We commend such an efforts. However, the U.S should, if it is serious, lift all its unlawful sanctions against Iran, in the meantime, abolish all its long-arm jurisdiction measures against entities and individual in third countries including China. This is exactly how it should be for the U.S. doing by returning to JCPOA and its also a legitimate requirement. In parallel, Iran should, on this basis,  get back to its full implementation of the JCPOA accordingly.

4. The United States has always called for negotiate and 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?

What is most urgent and need to be addressed now is how to get the U.S. and Iran back to full and effective implementation of JCPOA at and early date. This is preciously the focus and subject matter dealt with at today's JC meeting.

As for the role of 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 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 the how the initiative be put into practice.

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

To launch the "proximity talks" is one of the results registered at today's JC 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 EU, as JC coordinator, to play its positive role in the communication between the U.S. and Iran.