Senior diplomats from Iran and China weighed plans at a meeting in Beijing to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi and his Chinese counterpart Ma Zhaoxu attended a joint press conference after a consultative meeting in Beijing on Sunday.
Araqchi told reporters their meeting had revolved around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
He also stressed that a phased reduction in Iran’s commitments to the JCPOA does not mean a withdrawal from the nuclear deal, but that it was aimed at saving the agreement.
Araqchi also noted that Iran welcomes China’s political and diplomatic efforts to find solutions to the JCPOA crisis, adding, “We believe that saving the JCPOA would be per se a great multilateral diplomatic success.”
Describing China as a strategic partner of Iran, the Iranian deputy minister said Tehran and Beijing will continue “strategic cooperation” on various regional and international issues, including matters relating to the JCPOA.
The Chinese diplomat, for his part, emphasized that China will make every effort to save the nuclear accord, saying the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and its policy of maximum pressure on Iran is the primary cause of the current crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear program.
Ma also noted that China is pursuing plans to enhance the strategic and long-term relations with Iran.
Iran’s nuclear program is an indispensable part of strategic cooperation between Beijing and Tehran, he said, adding that the two sides have agreed to promote ties in order to protect the interests of the two nations and the international community.
In May 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA.
Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the JCPOA after the US withdrawal, but the three EU parties to the deal (France, Britain, and Germany) have failed to ensure Iran’s economic interests.
The EU’s inaction forced Tehran to stop honoring certain commitments to the nuclear deal, including a rise in the stockpile of enriched uranium.
Iran maintains that the new measures are not designed to harm the JCPOA but to save the accord by creating a balance in the commitments.