Beijing has censured the US blacklisting of an alleged network of companies brokering the sale of Iranian oil products and petrochemicals, stating that it strongly opposes Washington’s “illegal” and “unjustifiable” sanctions as well as its so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian urged the US to abandon the “wrong practice of resorting to sanctions at every turn” and instead “contribute positively” to negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA, commonly known as the 2015 Iran deal.
“China has always been firmly opposed to illegal, unjustifiable, and unilateral sanctions and so-called long-arm jurisdiction by the US,” Zhao told a press conference in Beijing on Thursday.
He added, “The international community, including China, has conducted normal cooperation with Iran within the framework of international law. This is reasonable and lawful without harm done to any third party and deserves to be respected and protected.”
The remarks came a day after the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a purported network of companies, including Chinese and Emirati ones, which it accused of helping to deliver and sell Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia.
The fresh sanctions came after Tehran and Washington attended a fresh round of indirect talks in the Qatari capital of Doha last week to revive the JCPOA by bringing Washington back into compliance with the pact.
Iran does not directly negotiate with the US as Washington is no longer a party to the landmark deal, given a unilateral 2018 withdrawal from the JCPOA by former US president Donald Trump.
In quitting the agreement, Trump restored sanctions on Iran as part of what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign against the country. Those sanctions are being enforced to this day by the Joe Biden administration, even though it has repeatedly acknowledged that the policy has been a total failure.
The talks in Doha followed seven rounds of inconclusive negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna since April last year.
Iran has maintained it wants guarantees that it will be able to enjoy the economic benefits promised under the original deal.
Negotiations reached an impasse and were suspended in March over Washington’s refusal to remove post-JCPOA sanctions and take Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) off a list of “foreign terrorist organizations.”
The Trump administration blacklisted the IRGC in 2019 – the first and only time the United States has designated part of another country’s armed forces – in a move that analysts say was intended to make it harder for any future administration to re-enter the deal.
The Doha talks were held just a few days after European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, visited Tehran seeking to break the impasse.
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