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China warns US to stop ‘extreme pressure’ on Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi (R) and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem attend a press conference after a meeting in Beijing on June 18, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

China has denounced the US for exerting “extreme pressure” on Iran, warning Washington against opening a “Pandora’s box” in the Middle East, after the Pentagon announced a new troop deployment to the region amid tensions with Tehran.

Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi made the remarks during a joint press conference with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in Beijing on Tuesday.

The United States has recently taken a quasi-warlike posture against Iran. The Pentagon announced on Monday that the US will send 1,000 additional US forces and more military resources to the Middle East.

Wang stressed that China was “of course, very concerned” about the situation in the region, demanding that all sides work to ease the tensions.

“We call on all sides to remain rational and exercise restraint, and not take any escalatory actions that irritate regional tensions, and not open a Pandora’s box,” he said. “In particular, the US side should alter its extreme pressure methods.”

The US has rushed to blame Iran for last week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman, without offering any evidence. It has also released a grainy video and some images as proof of what it calls an Iranian involvement in the incident.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the US accusation lacks “a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence” and that it was actually part of “sabotage diplomacy” being pursued by Trump and his hawkish allies inside the US and abroad.

Referring to the US’s record in carrying out false flag operations, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said Washington may have carried out the “suspicious” acts to blame them on Tehran and pile pressure on it.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the top Chinese diplomat warned that any “unilateral” move in the region would exacerbate the problem.

“Any unilateral behavior has no basis in international law. Not only will it not resolve the problem, it will only create an even greater crisis,” he said.

Wang further described a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal as the only feasible way to resolve Iran’s nuclear issue and urged the Islamic Republic to “make prudent decisions” and not to abandon the accord “so easily.”

“We understand that relevant parties may have different concerns but first of all the comprehensive nuclear deal should be properly implemented,” he noted. “We hope that Iran is cautious with its decision-making and not lightly abandon this agreement.”

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China.

Washington, however, left the JCPOA last May, leaving the future of the historic deal in limbo. It also re-imposed tough sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iran has suspended some of its commitments under the JCPOA, in reciprocation of the US exit and the Europeans' inaction to compensate for Washington’s absence

Muallem, for his part, denounced the US economic terrorism on Syria, China, Iran, Venezuela and other states, saying the practice violates the UN Charter, the international law and the principles of bilateral relations between countries.

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