China News Service: The parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are conducting negotiation in Vienna on bringing the deal back to life. How does China evaluate the current Iranian nuclear situation and the prospect of the negotiation? What role is China playing in the negotiation?
Zhao Lijian: The Iranian nuclear situation is now at a critical juncture. As we speak, the JCPOA parties are discussing in Vienna issues of lifting sanctions by the US side and compliance by the Iranian side. Meanwhile, parties are keeping interaction with the US in a proper way. China hopes all parties will consolidate and continue the current positive momentum, and reach an early consensus on bringing the US and Iran back to the deal at an early date.
The root cause of the persistent tension in the Iranian nuclear situation can be traced to the withdrawal of the previous US administration from the JCPOA and the maximum pressure it exerted on Iran. Whoever tied the knot is responsible for untying it. The US is expected to return to the agreement unconditionally as soon as possible and lift all relevant sanctions, including the long-arm jurisdiction over any third party, while Iran should resume its compliance reciprocally on this basis. All parties should tell right from wrong, urge the US side to take practical measures to lift sanctions, guide Iran to move towards the same direction, and get the JCPOA back on track without delay.
China firmly upholds the authority and effectiveness of the JCPOA, the international nuclear non-proliferation system as well as peace and stability in the Middle East. China had made important contributions to the conclusion of the JCPOA, and fulfilled its obligations to the agreement despite difficulties. China has been keeping intensive communication and coordination with parties concerned to promote the full and effective implementation of the agreement. As we speak, China is actively participating in the negotiation on bringing the US and Iran back to the deal. China will continue to play a constructive role in promoting the process of political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue. At the same time, we will firmly safeguard our legitimate rights and interests.