China, Russia Oppose Pressure on Iran

China, Russia Oppose Pressure on Iran
China, Russia Oppose Pressure on Iran

China and Russia oppose any pressure on Iran by the remaining parties to the 2015 nuclear deal, saying it will be counterproductive and escalate the situation. 
The deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, has been on shaky ground since the United States pulled out in 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran. 
The other parties remained committed, but failed to make up for the impacts of the US sanctions on Iranian economy. 
Iran began to reduce its compliance in 2019 in response to tough measures that jeopardized its JCPOA interests. It said, however, that all moves would be reversed once it can enjoy the economic benefits of the deal once again. 
The European signatories of the deal triggered the deal's dispute resolution mechanism in mid-January, saying they aimed to resolve the impasse and preserve the deal, although it could eventually culminate in the United Nations Security Council with the so-called snapback of all sanctions on Iran. 
In a recent move, France, Britain and Germany submitted a resolution to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Board of Governors calling on Iran to stop denying the agency access to two sites and to cooperate fully with it.
The resolution was passed in a vote by a 25-2 margin with seven abstentions. China and Russia opposed the measure. 



Not an Urgent Issue 

"China supports the IAEA in playing its role in an objective, professional and neutral manner in verifying Iran's compliance with its safeguards obligations. We are against politicizing its work," China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in a regular press briefing on Monday, according to the ministry's website. 
The IAEA has explicitly stated that the safeguards issue is neither urgent nor poses a proliferation risk, according to the diplomat, while the Iranian side has also expressed its clear wish to resolve issues through dialogue with the agency.
"Under the circumstances, China does not approve of actions that artificially exacerbate tensions and escalate the situation," he said, hoping that relevant parties will remain calm, exercise restraint and support Iran and the IAEA in resolving differences through dialogue and cooperation.



Counterproductive Move

The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman also said that Moscow, along with Chinese partners, had warned the sponsors in advance that this resolution would be "counterproductive, as it will only do harm". 
"We repeatedly urged against playing up to backers of the policy of maximum pressure on Iran which completely discredited itself both politically and practically," Maria Zakharova said. 
She added that the current pressure in IAEA contradicts the European countries' claims of commitment to JCPOA. 
"Reassurances of British, German and French colleagues that they are committed to JCPOA ... and looking for ways to minimize the negative effect of American sanctions against Iran run counter to their actions to heighten tensions surrounding the Iranian nuclear program in the IAEA as well as … triggering the dispute resolution mechanism," she said in a comment published on the ministry’s official website on Monday.
Iran has denied access to the two sites arguing that the IAEA request was made based on inadmissible Israeli claims and within the framework of the Additional Protocol to the Safeguards Agreement that Iran is observing voluntarily and temporarily. 
"We are certain that all questions arising, including the agreement of access to facilities that the agency is interested in, could be resolved in the framework of standard procedures of cooperation between states and the IAEA Secretariat," Zakharova said. 

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