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China reaffirms opposition to US’ sanctions on Iran, interference in country's affairs

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 Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian addresses a regular press conference on January 17, 2022. (Photo by

China has voiced its strong opposition to "illegal and unilateral" sanctions against Iran, and "gross interference" in the internal affairs of the Islamic Republic and other countries in the region.

Addressing a regular press conference on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Beijing "firmly opposes illegal unilateral sanctions against Iran, political manipulation on human rights and other issues, and gross interference in the internal affairs of Iran and other regional countries." 

He added that China will continue to firmly support the talks between Iran and the five remaining signatories to the 2015 nuclear agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in the Austrian capital of Vienna aimed at securing the removal of all sanctions that the United States has imposed on Tehran after its unilateral withdrawal from the deal.

"China will firmly support the process of negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA, and continue to constructively participate in the follow-up negotiations," Zhao said.

He expressed hope that "all parties will overcome difficulties, work in the same direction, and adhere to moving forward the political and diplomatic settlement process."

Lead negotiators of Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany – are expected to continue the sanctions removal talks in Vienna later on Monday.

On Friday evening, the eighth round of the talks was paused so that the diplomats could return to their respective capitals for consultations. However, the working groups on sanctions removal and sequencing the implementation of a probable agreement continued to work on draft texts on Sunday.

Iran and the five countries have been holding talks in Vienna since April last year. Iran says it pursues the removal of all sanctions that the United States re-imposed on Iran following its withdrawal from the deal.

Under former US president Donald Trump, the US unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA and imposed draconian sanctions primarily targeting the Iranian economy.

China ready to work with Iran to enrich comprehensive strategic partnership

Elsewhere in his presser, Zhao pointed to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian's talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, on Friday during which the two top diplomats jointly announced the launch of the implementation of the comprehensive cooperation plan and said Beijing stands ready to work with Tehran "to constantly enrich the two sides’ comprehensive strategic partnership, and open a new 50-year period for the development of bilateral relations."

He added that the two foreign ministers agreed to step up cooperation in energy, infrastructure, science and technology, medical and health care, agriculture, cyber security and third-party markets, and deepen cultural exchanges, including education to deliver more tangible outcomes of cooperation.

Iran and China signed the landmark agreement in March last year in defiance of the US’s unilateral sanctions to strengthen long-standing economic and political alliance.

The deal officially documents the Sino-Iranian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that had been announced during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to boost economic cooperation between the two countries for the next 25 years, and paves the way for Iran’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure project stretching from East Asia to Europe.

Beijing has long sought to boost ties with Tehran, with President Xi describing Iran as "China's major partner in the Middle East" on a rare visit to the country in 2016.

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