China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian says the United States should make political decisions as soon as possible and actively respond to the legitimate concerns of the Iranian side if it wants a revival of the 2015 Iran deal through the Vienna negotiations.
Speaking at a press briefing in the Chinese capital city of Beijing on Friday, Zhao said negotiations on reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – as the deal is called – have entered the final stage, with all parties having reached a consensus on most of the issues while only a few remain to be resolved.
He said China believes that there is no better alternative to the JCPOA.
“At this final phase, it is ever more important that all parties boost confidence, step up diplomatic efforts, facilitate a smooth conclusion of the negotiations and avoid letting previous efforts come to naught,” the Chinese diplomat said.
“As the culprit of the Iranian nuclear crisis, the US should make political decisions as soon as possible and actively respond to the legitimate concerns of the Iranian side,” he added.
Zhao also said that China will continue to “participate in the negotiations constructively, help bring the JCPOA back to the normal track at an early date, uphold the international non-proliferation system and promote peace and stability in the Middle East.”
The remarks came days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was not “overly optimistic” at the prospects of concluding the Vienna talks.
In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Blinken warned that “time is getting extremely short to restore the JCPOA” but added that a successful conclusion of the talks would be in the interest of the United States.
Negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital since April last year to restore the JCPOA, which was ditched by former US President Donald Trump in May 2018.
In quitting the agreement, Trump introduced what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees. Tehran maintains that the policy has failed dismally. The Joe Biden administration agrees, yet it has not taken any tangible steps to deliver on its promise of repealing the policy.
In recent months, Iran has cited Washington’s indecisiveness as the reason behind the protraction of the talks, while a number of key issues remain unresolved, ranging from the removal of all post-JCPOA sanctions to the provision of guarantees by the American side that it will not leave the deal again.
The other parties to the talks – Russia, China, France, the UK, and Germany – have also noted that the negotiators are close to finalizing an agreement.
Earlier this month, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres that the ball is now in US court to demonstrate whether it is willing to take the steps that are necessary to honor the deal.