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Statement by Ambassador Zhang Jun at Security Council Open VTC on Iranian Nuclear Issue

(From Chinese Mission to the United Nations)

2020/06/30

Mr. President,

I thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo, Ambassador Pecsteen and Ambassador Skoog for their briefings. I welcome the attendance of Secretary-General Guterres and Foreign Minister Zarif.

The JCPOA is an important multilateral agreement endorsed by Resolution 2231. It is legally-binding and should be effectively implemented. Earlier this month, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi clearly stated China's position on the Iranian nuclear issue in his letter to Secretary-General and President of the Security Council. Preserving the JCPOA is conducive to safeguarding multilateralism, the international order based on international law, the international non-proliferation regime, and peace and stability in the Middle East.

The root cause of current crisis is the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and its unilateral sanctions against Iran. As stated in Secretary-General's report, these actions continue to be contrary to the goals set out in the JCPOA and Resolution 2231. The US has decided to end the sanctions waiver to nuclear projects under the agreement, and pushed for extension of arms embargo on Iran. This has again undermined the joint efforts to preserve the JCPOA. We urge the US to stop its illegal unilateral sanctions and "long-arm jurisdiction", and return to the right track of observing the JCPOA and Resolution 2231.

China opposes the US push for extending arms embargo on Iran. All provisions of Resolution 2231 should be implemented, including arrangements on arms-related restrictive measures. Having quit the JCPOA, the US is no longer a participant, and has no right to trigger snap-back at the Security Council.

The Iranian nuclear issue is at a critical stage. The full and effective implementation of the JCPOA is the only right way forward. Iran's reduction of its commitment under the JCPOA is a result of the US maximum pressure. Relevant parties should exercise restraint, resolve differences through consultations in the Joint Commission, and refrain from taking steps that might complicate the situation. China disapproves of the recent resolution of IAEA's Board of Governors on Iran's safeguards. We call on all parties to pay due attention to Iran's readiness for continued cooperation with the Agency and to find solutions at an early date.

The Iranian nuclear issue concerns the peace and stability in the Middle East. Maintaining the JCPOA is in the interests of all parties. Regional countries should resolve disputes through dialogue and negotiation. Countries outside the region should inject positive energy into the region's peace and stability. All parties should work constructively to de-escalate the situation and promote settlement of hot-spot issues in the region.

Mr. President,

The Secretary-General's report underlines the importance of safeguarding the JCPOA, and calls upon Member States to avoid provocative rhetoric and actions. The report welcomes the positive developments in the INSTEX, encourages Member States to fully support and utilize the procurement channel, and supports Member States' trade and economic relations with Iran, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. China appreciates that.

Meanwhile, China agrees with some countries that the report should remain fact-based, and reflect the implementation of the resolution in an objective, balanced and comprehensive manner. The 2231 Format is not a sanctions mechanism. The Secretariat should act in strict accordance with its mandate and function.The report failed to fully accommodate and reflect the legitimate concerns of Iran. It also made conclusions on issues, such as origin of weapons, simply based on one-sided information. This is deeply regrettable. China hopes to bring this to the high attention of the Secretariat.

China has noticed that some countries expressed concerns over Iran's missile and satellite launch. Iran has clarified the conventional and self-defensive nature of its missile programme on many occasions. It is important that all parties accurately interpret the resolution so as to avoid negative impact on the implementation of the JCPOA.

Mr. President,

Since the conclusion of the JCPOA, China has been committed to upholding the authority of the resolution and the efficacy of the JCPOA. China stands ready to work tirelessly with relevant parties to seek political and diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. The Security Council should earnestly fulfill its responsibilities and stand with international law, multilateralism, and peace and dialogue. We can't afford to allow the Iranian nuclear issue to go back to the old track of pressure and confrontation.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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