Remarks by Ambassador Zhang Jun at the UN Security Council Briefing on the Iranian Nuclear Issue

June 30, 2022

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Zhang Jun

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Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations

Mr. President,

I thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo. Ambassador Skoog, head of the EU delegation to the United Nations, and Ambassador Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland, for their briefings. I also welcome the presence of the Iranian and German representatives at today’s meeting.

The JCPOA, a product of 10 years of work, was a major win of multilateral diplomacy endorsed by Security Council resolutions. It is a key pillar of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, as well as the peace and stability in the Middle East, and a success story of resolving regional hotspot issues through dialogue and negotiation. Since last year, positive progress has been made in the negotiations to resume compliance with the JCPOA. The negotiations are now in the final stage. We welcome the relaunch of indirect talks between the US and Iran in Doha. We also hope that all parties concerned will, driven by a greater sense of urgency, agree on the remaining outstanding issues without delay, so as to remove any obstacles that stand in the way of restoring the agreement’s integrity, and ensuring its effective implementation.

The future of the Iranian nuclear issue is critical to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, regional stability, and international peace and security. To keep the resumed Iranian nuclear talks on the right track with a view to an early and positive outcome, China wishes to underscore the following points.

First, adhering to the overarching goal of a political solution. Upholding and effectively implementing the agreement is about maintaining multilateralism and the authority of the Security Council, and safeguarding the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. There is no better alternative to the agreement, as dialogue and consultation is the only right way forward in the resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis. All parties concerned should move in the same direction, adhere to the course towards a political and diplomatic solution, work together to encourage and facilitate peace talks, show diplomatic wisdom and political resolve, and seek consensus on outstanding issues. China welcomes and supports all efforts conducive to the peaceful resolution of the crisis, and appreciates the recent good offices by the EU. We hope that the EU, as the coordinator, will continue to play its unique role and work harder to encourage greater flexibility from the parties.

Second, going by the correct logic of right and wrong. The previous US administration, in disregard of objections from the international community, unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA, and launched a maximum pressure campaign against Iran. We must admit that is the root cause of the current Iranian nuclear crisis. As the one responsible for the Iranian nuclear crisis, the United States should face up to its responsibility, correct its mistake once and for all, make a political decision as soon as possible, and take concrete measures to respond positively to the reasonable demands of Iran. While repeatedly stating its readiness to seek a return to compliance, the United States is nevertheless escalating sanctions against Iran and third parties even during the process of resumed talks. Doing so is obviously detrimental to any positive progress in the talks. The US should live up to its words and lift all relevant unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction measures against Iran, so that Iran can fully partake of the economic dividends of the JCPOA.

Third, eliminating interference in the negotiation process. All parties have dedicated a tremendous amount of energy and effort into the negotiations on the return to compliance. There is only one last mile to go before the negotiations are concluded. As we approach the final hurdle, it is all the more important for all parties to firm up confidence, reject any and all interference, and preserve the hard-won results of the negotiations achieved to date. In this context, all parties should be guided by reason, exercise restraint, and refrain from taking unconstructive steps that would cause a spiraling of tensions. China objects politicizing the mandate of IAEA, as reflected in the Iran-related resolution recently forced through by some countries and adopted by the Agency’s Board of Governors. We support settling outstanding issues through dialogue and cooperation between the Agency and Iran.

As a member of the international community, Iran has every right to the peaceful uses of outer space. We all have different interpretations of the nature of Iran’s missile and space programs. We hope the parties concerned will accurately interpret the provisions of the Security Council resolutions on the issue of Iran’s missile launch, and avoid undermining the bigger picture of the JCPOA implementation.

Fourth, abandoning double standards. The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons is the cornerstone of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and plays a vital role in preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. All parties must strictly abide by the NPT. The cooperation between the US, the UK, and Australia on nuclear submarines is the first time since the NPT was concluded that a nuclear weapon state has openly transferred nuclear weapon materials to a non-nuclear weapon state. Regardless of how the three countries may choose to name their nuclear submarine cooperation, the very essence of their nuclear proliferation behavior cannot be concealed, its negative impact on the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue cannot be undone, the risk it poses to regional peace and stability is a reality that cannot be changed. The practice of applying double standards to the detriment of the objectives and purposes of the NPT must be rectified in order to maintain the authority and effectiveness of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Mr. President,

In his report, the Secretary-General recommends that member states fully support and apply INSTEX, the procurement channels described in Resolution 2231, etc. to engage in trade with Iran, so as to assist its response to COVID-related challenges, and enable its people to enjoy tangible economic dividends. China subscribes to this, and we hope that the Secretary-General’s appeal will be heeded and positively responded to by the countries concerned. At the same time. We also hope that the legitimate concerns expressed by Iran will be taken seriously and properly addressed.

As a permanent member of the Security Council and a participant of the JCPOA, China has been consistently committed to promoting a political and diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. Since the start of this year, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has, on many occasions, engaged with the parties concerned on the Iranian nuclear issue, and stayed in close communication and coordination with them. China will continue to maintain an impartial and objective position, firmly safeguard the authority and effectiveness of the JCPOA and Council Resolution 2231, and constructively participate in the negotiations on the return to compliance, to facilitate the agreement’s early return to the right track. At the same time, China also attaches importance to the legitimate security concerns of the countries in the region. To this end, State Councilor Wang Yi has put forward an initiative to build a multilateral dialogue platform in the Gulf region, supporting all parties in continuing to build mutual trust through dialogue and consultation, thereby finding a solution towards lasting peace in the region eventually.

I thank you, Mr. President.