Iran’s ambassador to China, Ali Asghar Khaji, told the South China Morning Post in remarks published Monday that he hopes China can help preserve what is left of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, following America’s withdrawal from it this month.
“We expect other remaining members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, including China, to help implement and continue this deal, and fulfill their commitment and obligations according to this deal,” Khaji said last week in an interview with South China Morning Post.
He reportedly added, “If we could gain these rights and benefits from this deal we will stay in it. If these Iranian rights were not satisfied, and our interests were not reached, we will think about other options,” without mentioning what the potential other options are.
Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with China, Russia, England, France, Germany, and the European Union to discuss ways to move forward with the JCPOA without the United States.
Khaji reportedly told the Morning Post that Zarif “intentionally” stopped in Beijing before visiting other nations “because of the importance of China for us.” He added, “We expect China, as a member of the 5+1, to continue to play its positive role to implement and safeguard the nuclear deal.”
To that end, he reportedly added, “So with this positive atmosphere, we believe that, and we hope that, we can continue the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action without the United States.”
China appears to be heeding the call to get involved in the Iran nuclear deal negotiations. Reports published Sunday revealed that Chinese, European Union, and Russian diplomats have planned to meet in Vienna in the coming week to discuss ways to save the 2015 deal brokered by the former Obama administration.