Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi lashed out at the US on Friday for its “completely unreasonable” demand to reimpose sanctions on Iran.
On Thursday, the US formally asked the UN to trigger the “snapback”, a mechanism under the 2015 nuclear accord that allows a participant to restore pre-2015 sanctions on Iran, on the grounds that Tehran has significantly violated the agreement.
But Wang told a press conference after a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in southern China that the US request was “absurd”. He argued that it was totally unreasonable for the US to withdraw from the agreement in 2018 and then try to initiate the mechanism now.
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“It’s not only ignoring international law, but asking others to ignore it too. And it’s even threatening to sanction those law-abiding countries,” he said, “where does this absurd logic come from?”
Britain, France and Germany also oppose Washington’s actions and have argued that it has no legal right to do so. A joint statement on Friday said the three European countries hope to preserve the 2015 deal, which includes the lifting of all international sanctions against Iran.
Wang criticised the US for failing to fulfil its international responsibilities when unilaterally withdrawing from the agreement in 2018.
He said the demand to trigger the snapback procedure is harming its credibility and that of international law.
“The US only considers its own interest. It complies with an international agreement when it serves its interests and refuses to do so when it doesn’t,” he said.
He also repeated Beijing’s suggestion that another multilateral platform for security in the Gulf should be established on the basis of the 2015 accord, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Washington insists that as a permanent UN Security Council member, it has the right to seek to restore sanctions.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued the request on Thursday citing “significant non-performance” by Iran.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, Iran has violated some of the terms of the deal, but Tehran said this was the result of the US breaching the accord by withdrawing from it and reimposing unilateral sanctions.
The European participants in the agreement had tried to bring Iran back into compliance, but “despite extensive efforts and exhaustive diplomacy on the part of those member states, Iran’s significant non-performance persists”, Pompeo said.
The European members are concerned that the reimposition of sanctions may cause Iran to quit the deal.
“We call on all UNSC members to refrain from any action that would only deepen divisions in the Security Council or that would have serious adverse consequences on its work,” France, Germany and the UK said in their joint statement on Friday.
This article Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says US demand for Iran sanctions is ‘completely unreasonable’ first appeared on South China Morning Post