On May 25, 2018, China, Russia, the United Kingdom (UK), France, Germany, and Iran held the ninth meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear issue in Vienna of Austria to discuss the impact of the US’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and the plan for the implementation of the JCPOA in the next step. Secretary General for the European External Action Service Helga Schmid chaired the meeting. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi of Iran and relevant officials from Russia, the UK, France and Germany attended the meeting. Director-General of the Department of Arms Control of the Foreign Ministry Wang Qun led a delegation to attend the meeting.
Wang Qun said that the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear issue was reached through the joint negotiations among the six countries (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany), Iran, and the European Union (EU), and has been formally endorsed by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. It is an important outcome of multilateralism. Practice over the last three years has fully proved that the JCPOA is effective. China held that safeguarding the integrity and seriousness of the JCPOA is not only conducive to upholding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East, but also serves as an exemplar for the settlement of other hotspot issues through political and diplomatic means.
Wang Qun pointed out that China consistently and firmly opposes unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction”. Protecting the legitimate rights and interests of all parties related to the JCPOA is in itself an indispensable part of the implementation of the JCPOA. China hopes that the countries concerned will proceed from the overall situation with a long-term perspective to avoid obstructing the implementation of the JCPOA.
Wang Qun stressed that China will continue committing to safeguarding and implementing the JCPOA and is also willing to enhance cooperation with all parties in this regard.
It is the first meeting held by the Joint Commission after the US’s withdrawal from the JCPOA. The EU, as a coordinator, released a statement after the meeting, saying that the JCPOA is still an important part of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and the significant outcome of diplomatic efforts endorsed by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231. Various parties present at the meeting expressed their regrets at the US’s withdrawal from the JCPOA and reiterated that they would continue fully and effectively implementing the JCPOA. It was confirmed that lifting sanctions against Iran in the nuclear field and normalizing trade with Iran were important contents of the implementation of the JCPOA. To this end, relevant parties would discuss guaranteeing extensive cooperation with Iran through various practical measures. All parties agreed to continue participating in the work of the Joint Commission and its subordinate bodies. Iran proposed holding a meeting of the Joint Commission at foreign ministerial level in the near future.