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China: US main culprit in Iran nuclear issue, duty-bound to take further actions in Vienna

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 spokesman Wang Wenbin attends a news conference in Beijing, China. (File photo by Reuters)

Referring to Washington as the culprit behind the crisis created around Iran’s nuclear program, China says the US needs to take further active measures to resolve the remaining issues at the Vienna negotiations.

“It is incumbent on the US, the culprit of the Iranian nuclear crisis, to take further active measures in exchange for reciprocal steps by the Iranian side so that all remaining issues may be resolved at an early date,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Monday.

Wang said the negotiations in the Austrian capital, aimed at resurrecting the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), have entered “the final stage” and that there is still an important opportunity to bring the agreement back on track.

However, he added, there are still some important issues that need to be resolved as all parties are engaged in intensive consultations to seek a “package solution.”

“As a Chinese saying goes, ninety miles is only half of a hundred-mile journey, for the going is toughest toward the end. In the final stage of negotiations, all parties should persevere, uphold mutual respect, think out of the box, gather consensus, and strive for breakthroughs on outstanding issues,” the spokesman said.

He also stressed that China always adopts an objective and just position, constructively participates in the Vienna discussions, actively mediates on sticking points, and works towards reaching practical and reasonable solutions by all parties.

He further expressed Beijing’s resolve to keep working with all relevant sides to advance the Vienna talks.

Former US president Donald Trump unilaterally left the JCPOA in May 2018 and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that the deal had lifted. He also placed additional sanctions on Iran under other pretexts not related to the nuclear case as part of his “maximum pressure” campaign.

Late in November last year, the JCPOA participants resumed the Vienna talks for the first time under Iran’s new president Ebrahim Raeisi. Since then, Iran has repeatedly emphasized that it seeks a “good agreement” in the Austrian capital.

The talks were launched last April over US President Joe Biden’s pledge to rejoin the JCPOA and rescind Trump’s “failed maximum pressure” campaign.

Over a year into his presidency, Biden has failed to re-enter the 2015 deal. Instead, he has kept Trump’s sanctions in place while adding new ones as well.

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