|Remarks by Ambassador Geng Shuang at Security Council Open Debate on the Iranian Nuclear Issue|
Thank you, Mr. President,
I thank Under-Secretary-General DiCarlo, Ambassador Skoog and Ambassador Nason for their briefings.
The JCPOA is a diplomatic outcome achieved through hard work by all parties who engaged in consultation and negotiation. It embodies the successful practice of multilateralism. It is an essential safeguard for the international nuclear non-proliferation regime as well as the peace and stability in the Middle East. The United States, in disregard of the opposition of the international community, obstinately made a unilateral withdrawal from the agreement, and has continued to apply maximum pressure on Iran. This is the root of the current dilemma of the Iranian nuclear issue. As the Chinese saying goes, let he who tied the bell on the tiger’s neck take it off. It is incumbent upon the US, the originator, to take the lead in returning to the JCPOA with no preconditions. Iran, on the basis of this, should subsequently also return to full compliance. This is the right way to bring the Iranian nuclear deal back on track and achieve de-escalation of the situation in the region.
Since the beginning of this year, the parties concerned have actively implemented the consensus reached at last December’s foreign ministers’ meeting in order to facilitate the resumption of compliance by the US and Iran as soon as possible. At present, important progress has been made in the relevant negotiations in Vienna, although there are still many miles to go before consensus can be reached. We hope that all parties will have a greater sense of urgency, make the political decision as soon as possible, demonstrate flexibility, and commit themselves to working towards the same goal. At the same time, they need to exercise restraint, refrain from making any moves that may further complicate the situation, and strive to reach a consensus on the return to compliance at an early date. In particular, I wish to point out here that the US has repeatedly indicated its willingness to return to the deal. It has declared that multilateralism is back. Well in this case, the US should make greater efforts and demonstrate greater sincerity towards arriving at a consensus as soon as possible. Whether the US can reach an agreement with Iran and other relevant parties on the resumption of compliance will be the ultimate litmus test to show whether the US really practices multilateralism.
The withdrawal by the US from the JCPOA has led to a serious trust deficit between the US and Iran. This significantly hinders the resumption of compliance negotiation between the two sides. Out of the concern that the US may once again walk away from the agreement, Iran has asked the current US administration to provide a guarantee that it will not repeat the unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA. This request is completely understandable and should be responded to. It is our hope that all parties will adopt a positive posture and show political wisdom in finding a solution.
As a member of the international community, Iran is entitled to the peaceful use of outer space. Parties have different understandings vis-à-vis the nature of Iran’s missile program and space program. If deemed necessary, the parties may set up a new platform, or use other suitable fora to discuss this matter, so as to avoid getting tangled up on this in the resumption of compliance negotiation, as this would bring complication and impediment to the negotiation process.
Unilateral sanctions undermine mutually beneficial cooperation among countries. Such measures go against international equity and justice, blatantly trample on international law, and seriously damage international relations. The international community has time and again called upon the US to lift its sanctions against Iran, and the Secretary-General has repeatedly emphasized this point in his report. We hope the US will pay attention to this and respond positively in the negotiation. China categorically rejects all illegal unilateral sanctions imposed by the US. Any and all such illegal measures by the US, whether they are the sanctions against Iran, or long-arm jurisdiction targeting third-party entities and individuals, Chinese entities and individuals included, should be lifted immediately. This will help ensure that Iran will enjoy the legitimate economic dividends, create conditions for all parties to restart normal economic and trade cooperation with Iran, and pave the way for negotiations to reach a conclusion on the resumption of compliance with the agreement.
The Iranian nuclear issue bears upon the situation in the Middle East. Preserving the JCPOA is conducive to maintaining regional security and stability. This is in line with the interests of all parties, including those in the Gulf region. That said, regional security issues should not be directly linked to the JCPOA. China has proposed that, on the basis of upholding the JCPOA, a multilateral dialogue platform be established in the Gulf region, as a way to encourage regional countries to reach new consensus on regional security issues through dialogue and consultation. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a visit to the Middle East in March this year. During the visit, he put forward a five-point proposal for the peace and stability of the region, including advocating mutual respect, upholding equity and justice, achieving non-proliferation, jointly fostering collective security and accelerating development cooperation. This proposal reflects China’s sincerity in promoting regional peace and its strong sense of responsibility as a permanent member of the Security Council.
Preserving the JCPOA means upholding multilateralism, safeguarding international equity and justice, and defending the authority of the UN Security Council. China has always participated in the relevant JCPOA negotiations in a constructive manner, and has played an important role in promoting consensus and resolving differences among the parties. China will continue playing a constructive role to facilitate the earlier conclusion of the compliance resumption talks, move the Iranian nuclear issue towards a political settlement, safeguard international nuclear non-proliferation regime, and promote peace and stability in the Middle East.
I thank you, Mr. President.