China's foreign minister on Saturday said the United States’ pullout from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and its subsequent sanctions on Tehran were “the root causes” of the current crisis surrounding the multilateral accord.
"The US unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA and its maximum pressure on Iran are the root causes of the current Iranian nuclear crisis," Wang Yi was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, using the formal name of the nuclear agreement.
Former US president Donald Trump abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2018 and reimposed and then ramped up sanctions on Iran with his “maximum pressure” campaign in order to force Iran into negotiating a “better deal”.
The withdrawal sparked outcries from other parties to the deal – France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China.
A year later Iran began to suspend its key commitments under the deal in a phased fashion in retaliation for the US unilateral measures.
Since April, Iran and other remaining JCPOA members have held talks in the Austrian capital Vienna in an effort to revive the accord and bring back Washington to compliance after US President Joe Biden signaled readiness to rejoin the deal.
Despite “significant progress” made in the course of meetings, negotiations seem to have reached a deadlock since the US refused to lift all sanctions imposed under the Trump administration in a verifiable way as demanded by Iran.
In his sweeping speech on Saturday, Wang said it was most critical for the US to make an earlier decision to rejoin the JCPOA.
He said the US is the party that needs to “untie” the knot. "As the saying, goes, he who tied the bow should untie it."
The Chinese foreign minister also urged the world to categorically oppose "bloc" confrontation, citing US efforts in the Indo-Pacific region as an example.
"It is the revival of the Cold War mentality and regression of history. It should be swept into the dustbin."
"Dreaming the old dream of hegemony during the Cold War will not secure a promising future, still less build back a better world," said Wang.