The European Union, China, and Russia on Tuesday reaffirmed their support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal on the fifth anniversary of the landmark accord.
Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, issued a statement, pledged “to do everything possible” to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which he described as “a historic multilateral achievement for global nuclear nonproliferation.”
“The JCPOA remains the only tool to provide the international community with the necessary assurances regarding Iran’s nuclear program… The full implementation of the JCPOA by all sides remains crucial,” Borrell said.
The deal was reached between Iran and the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany on July 14, 2015. However, in May 2018, US President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled his country out of the JCPOA and reimposed the sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.
Verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran remained fully compliant with the JCPOA for an entire year, waiting for the co-signatories to honor their commitments and offset the impacts of the US withdrawal.
But, as the European parties continued to renege on their obligations, the Islamic Republic moved in May 2019 to suspend its JCPOA commitments under articles of the deal covering Tehran’s legal rights in case of noncompliance by the other side.
Borrell said, “As the coordinator of the JCPOA Joint Commission, I am determined to do everything possible together with the remaining participants of the JCPOA and the international community to preserve the agreement.”
“We should not assume that an opportunity will arise again in the future for the international community to address Iran’s nuclear program in such a comprehensive manner,” he added.
His statement came days after he received a letter from Iran demanding the launch of the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the nuclear deal over the failure of the three European signatories to the agreement to honor their commitments.
Key element of nonproliferation
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, in a statement, reiterated Beijing’s “firm support” for the JCPOA, which she said “has become a key element of the international nuclear nonproliferation system, an important positive factor in maintaining regional and global peace and stability, and good practice of resolving regional hotspot issues through multilateral approaches”.
Hua censured the US for abandoning the JCPOA, along with other international treaties, saying the move was in contravention of Security Council Resolution 2231, which has endorsed the multilateral deal.
“Such clear violation of the UNSCR 2231 has led to continued tension over the Iranian nuclear issue,” she said.
The Chinese official expressed regret that “the US has, in recent years, been upholding unilateralism, renouncing its international obligations, and withdrawing from treaties and organizations.”
She also blasted the US for seeking to further undermine the JCPOA by pushing for an extension of UN arms embargo on Iran, which is due to expire in October, and “threatening to activate the rapid reinstatement of sanctions mechanism”.
Hua said that “preserving and implementing the JCPOA is the right way to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue,” adding that Tehran’s “scaling back of compliance is the result of the maximum pressure exerted by the US.”
She further called on the signatories of the deal to “strengthen dialogue and consultation within the framework of the Joint Commission, seek a solution to the compliance dispute in a step-by-step and reciprocal approach, and restore the balance of rights and obligations under the JCPOA”.
“The parties should support strengthened dialogue and cooperation between the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran in order to properly resolve the safeguards issue as soon as possible," she said.
“At the same time, the international community should jointly oppose the US pushing the Security Council to extend or reinstate sanctions against Iran and urge the US to return to the right track of compliance with the JCPOA and UNSCR,” the Chinese official said.
“China’s unwavering aim is to maintain the international nuclear nonproliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East, and to uphold multilateralism, the authority of the UN, and the international order based on international law,” Hua said.
The Chinese official said Beijing would continue to “work with other parties to the JCPOA to continue advancing the political and diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue. At the same time, we will firmly safeguard our legitimate rights and interests.”
US ‘short-sighted’ policy
Russia’s Foreign Ministry hailed the Iran deal as a “major achievement of multilateral diplomacy” which demonstrated the effectiveness of dialogue.
In its statement, the ministry said the JCPOA “resolved one of the most complex and long-standing” issues of nuclear nonproliferation, based on international law.
Russia lambasted the US “maximum pressure” policy on Iran as “short-sighted and erroneous”, saying it discredited the United States in the world.
The statement said Russia “intends to make every effort” to bring the nuclear deal to a “stable channel” and “encourages partners to work together meaningfully to find ways to de-escalate and protect the JCPOA from US attacks”.
Press TV contributed to this story.