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China calls US ‘empire of sanctions,’ laments economic losses inflicted on Iran

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian addresses a press conference in an undated photo. (By social media)

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has highlighted the economic losses incurred by Iran due to the United States’ unilateral sanctions, condemning Washington for its unilateral policies.

“The US is an empire of sanctions,” Zhao wrote in a post on his official Twitter account, attaching an image that referred to $200 billion in economic losses incurred by Iran due to the American sanctions.

The former Iranian government had announced that US-imposed sanctions have cost Iran at least 200 billion dollars in less than 2 years; 100 billion for lost crude oil revenues and 100 billion of investment money.

The Chinese spokesperson’s comment came nearly a month after he voiced Beijing’s strong opposition to Washington’s “illegal” and “unjustifiable” sanctions as well as its so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran.

Back then, Zhao had 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 nuclear deal.

“China has always been firmly opposed to illegal, unjustifiable, and unilateral sanctions and so-called long-arm jurisdiction by the US,” he told a press conference in Beijing on July 7.

“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,” he added.

After unilaterally withdrawing from the JCPOA in 2018, former US president Donald 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.

Negotiations started last April in the Austrian capital of Vienna between Iran and the remaining JCPOA parties to revive the agreement and bring the US back into compliance with the accord.

While the Biden administration has claimed to be ready to return to compliance with the deal, it has taken no practical measures to undo Washington's past wrongs.

Throughout the course of the Vienna talks, Russia and China have supported Iran’s position on the need for the US to remove all post-JCPOA sanctions and offer assurances that it will not leave the deal again.

The last round of negotiations wrapped up on Tuesday as the parties are mulling over the text submitted by the European Union.

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