China calls on US to 'positively' respond to Iran’s 'reasonable concerns' in Vienna talks

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)
A general view shows Palais Coburg, where closed-door talks with Iran on JCPOA revival and removal of sanctions take place in Vienna, Austria, on August 4, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

China has called on the United States to “positively” respond to the Islamic Republic of Iran’s “reasonable concerns” in the nuclear deal talks, blaming it for starting the “crisis”.

At a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the US, as the party responsible for the "nuclear crisis", needs to “get a clear sense of where things are headed”.

His remarks came two days after the latest round of nuclear talks in Vienna to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord culminated with a modified text on the table.

While the European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell claimed that the “final text” had been reached, an unnamed Iranian foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by IRNA that Tehran conveyed its “initial response and reservations” on the draft text.

Responding to questions from reporters, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman urged the US to “make the political decision sooner rather than later” and to “respond positively to Iran’s reasonable concerns and enable the negotiations to produce results at an early date."

"All parties concerned should speak and act prudently and create a favorable atmosphere for the negotiations,” Wang stressed while blaming Washington for dragging its feet.

He added that negotiators at the Vienna talks have expressed their readiness to reach an agreement, which he noted was of “important significance for keeping the Iranian nuclear issue on the right track of dialogue and negotiations.”

The spokesman also appreciated the EU’s effort to advance the talks and encouraged the bloc to continue diplomatic mediation efforts in a bid to revive the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“We call on the parties concerned to stay committed to the approach of dialogue and negotiation and step up diplomatic efforts to actively seek solutions to outstanding issues,” Wang told reporters. 

“China will be actively involved in future negotiations and contribute to bringing the JCPOA back on track. We will at the same time resolutely uphold our own lawful rights and interests," he hastened to add.

Iran and the remaining P4+1 parties to the JCPOA -- Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany -- started talks to salvage the landmark deal and to lift crippling sanctions on Iran in the Austrian capital of Vienna April last year.

 While the parties noted progress in multiple rounds of talks, marked by interruptions, the indecisiveness shown by Washington has so far prevented any significant breakthrough.

The Joe Biden administration initially showed readiness to return to the deal and reverse the hard-nosed measures of the previous administration, which unilaterally abandoned the deal in May 2018 and reinstated draconian sanctions on Iran, but it has taken no practical measures to undo Washington's past wrongs. 

Last month, the indirect negotiations between Tehran and Washington briefly moved to the Qatari capital of Doha in a different format, but the effort again failed to produce any tangible result due to the excessive demands of the US.

After a five-month hiatus, talks in Vienna resumed on August 4 with expert-level negotiations held between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries for three days.

In a phone call on Monday, after the negotiators returned to their respective capitals, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Borrell that Iran “expected that all sides show determination and seriousness to reach the final text of the agreement.”

Iranian media also dismissed the idea that the text of an agreement was close to being finalized, saying there were still “a few important remaining issues” to be resolved.

"The claim that the text of the agreement will be finalized by the next few hours is false," said Nournews which is close to the Supreme National Security Council of Iran. 

"The information received by Nournews shows that this news report by the American media is completely false and is done with the aim of intensifying pressure on the Iranian negotiating team to give in to the excessive demands of the American side," it added.

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