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

December 19, 2022

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Geng Shuang

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Deputy Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations

Madam President, 

I thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo, Mr. Mr Gonzato, and Ambassador Mythen for their briefings.

The JCPOA, endorsed by the Security Council resolution, is an important achievement of multilateral diplomacy. It is a classic example of resolving disputes through dialogue and consultations, and also a key pillar for international nuclear non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East.

The unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA by the previous US administration and the maximum pressure applied on Iran have triggered the Iranian nuclear crisis. Following the decision by the current US administration to return to the agreement, parties have conducted multiple rounds of negotiations with positive progress. Regrettably, however, since last August, negotiations on resuming compliance have stalled again, making the future of the Iranian nuclear issue uncertain. At a time when the global security situation is complex and severe, the International nuclear non-proliferation regime faces challenges, and geopolitical factors have become increasingly prominent, China calls on all parties concerned to demonstrate greater sense of urgency, take up their responsibilities, step up dialogue and engagement, and strive to reach an agreement as soon as possible on the outstanding issues, with a view to restoring the integrity of the comprehensive agreement and its effective implementation. Here I would like to touch upon four points.

First, we must stay on the right course towards the political settlement. Dialogue and negotiation have always remained the only correct approach to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue. Parties concern should cherish the hard-won result of the negotiations over the past two years, demonstrate diplomatic wisdom, make political decisions, and remove obstacles on the way. China welcomes Iran’s recent flexible stance regarding the outstanding issues, and hopes that the United States and other relevant parties will seize the opportunity and meet Iran halfway, so as to move the negotiations forward.

Second, we must uphold the basic principles of fairness and justice. As the party that caused the Iranian nuclear crisis, the US should be aware of its own responsibilities, and take the lead in taking concrete steps. China calls on the US to fulfill its commitment in the agreement, lift all unilateral sanctions, cease long-arm jurisdiction against Iran and third parties, and stop threatening to use force against Iran. China also wishes to emphasize that the relevant parties to the JCPOA should fulfill their responsibilities in non-proliferation, and avoid any nuclear cooperation that contravenes the principles and purposes of the NPT, and leads to the proliferation of weapon grade nuclear materials. This will serve as a guiding example for negotiation on resuming compliance.

Third, we must create an enabling atmosphere for negotiations. Pushing for the adoption of resolution by the IAEA Board of Governors to put pressure on Iran will only exacerbate differences, undermine mutual trust, and cast a shadow over the negotiations. Facts have proved time again that exerting pressure on Iran does not help. All parties should bear in mind the long-term interest and the big picture, and avoid any action that may escalate the situation and disrupt the negotiation process. We hope that relevant parties, including the Secretariat, will accurately interpret Council resolutions and documents, prudently handle issues such as Iran’s space launch and the so-called transfer of UAVs, and avoid affecting the negotiations on resuming compliance. Linking the Iranian nuclear issue with others such as the domestic situation in Iran will only lead to a dead end in the negotiation, and even the waste of the gains of diplomatic efforts.

Fourth, we must properly address regional security issues. Last April, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Security Initiative, advocating the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security, and the building of a balanced, effective, and sustainable security architecture. This Initiative provides useful inspiration for promoting the resolution of hotspot issues in the Middle East, including the Iranian nuclear issue. China encourages relevant parties to embrace the vision of common security, and build a platform for multilateral dialogue in the Gulf region to ease conflicts, build mutual trust, and jointly build security through dialogue. Countries outside region should play a constructive role in easing the situation, rather than creating animosity or stoking confrontation.

Madam President,

As a permanent member of the Security Council and a party to the JCPOA, China has always been committed to upholding the validity of the agreement and the authority of Council resolutions, and promoting the political and diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue. Since last September, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the heads of state of Iran and the United States respectively to work on the Iranian nuclear issue. Our State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has also remained closely engaged with relevant parties on the Iranian nuclear issue. China will continue to hold an objective and impartial position, and play a constructive role in bringing the JCPOA back on track, advancing the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue, upholding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and maintaining peace and stability in the Middle East.

I thank you, Madam President.