China condemns US sanctions against Iran on launch of cooperation agreement – Community News
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China condemns US sanctions against Iran on launch of cooperation agreement

The Iranian flag flies in front of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

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SHANGHAI, Jan. 15 (Reuters) – China reaffirmed its opposition to unilateral United States sanctions against Iran as Chinese and Iranian foreign ministers announced the launch of a 25-year cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening the economic and political ties.

At a meeting Friday in Wuxi city, Jiangsu province, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also supported efforts to revive a 2015 nuclear deal between the major powers and Iran.

A summary of the meeting between Wang and Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was posted on the Chinese Foreign Ministry website on Saturday.

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Wang, who is also a councilor of state, said the US bears primary responsibility for the ongoing problems with Iran because it unilaterally withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal between the major powers and Iran.

Under the terms of that deal, in exchange for lifting international sanctions, Iran would restrict uranium enrichment activity, making it more difficult to develop nuclear weapons — although Tehran denies having plans for nuclear weapons.

Wang said China would strongly support a resumption of nuclear pact negotiations.

But he said China is firmly opposed to unilateral sanctions against Iran, political manipulation through issues such as human rights, and meddling in the internal affairs of Iran and other regional countries.

The United States re-imposed sanctions that severely damaged Iran’s economy after it withdrew from the nuclear pact in 2018, saying the conditions were not doing enough to curb Iran’s nuclear activities, ballistic missile program and regional influence.

A year later, Iran gradually began violating the accord, rebuilding stockpiles of enriched uranium, refining it to higher fuel purity and installing advanced centrifuges to speed up production.

China and Iran, both subject to US sanctions, signed the 25-year cooperation agreement last March, making Iran part of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan to run from East Asia to Europe. read more

The project aims to significantly expand China’s economic and political influence and has raised concerns in the United States and elsewhere. read more

The foreign ministry summary said the agreement would deepen Sino-Iranian cooperation in areas such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare and culture, as well as cybersecurity and cooperation with other countries.

Iran and the US remain in talks over whether a compromise can be found to renew the deal and allay fears of a wider war in the Middle East. A source close to the negotiations said on Friday that many issues remain unresolved. read more

Wang, who earlier this week met with several colleagues from the Arab Gulf states concerned about Iran’s potential threat, also said China hopes to establish a dialogue mechanism with the Gulf states to discuss regional security issues.

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Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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