Iran Foreign Minister urges ‘concrete action’ from China, Russia to save nuclear deal

Beijing [China]: Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday urged “friends” including China and Russia to take “concrete action” to safeguard the 2015 nuclear deal as he warned of a “dangerous” situation amid rising tensions with the United States.

Zarif, who arrived here on Friday, said that he would talk to the Chinese officials about “bilateral ties and the very dangerous issues that are ongoing in our region today,” Al Jazeera reported after citing a video published by the Iranian Foreign Ministry on its official website.

Zarif’s visit to China comes three days after the Foreign Minister held talks with India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi on May 14.

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In the meeting, India conveyed to Iran that the decision on buying its oil would be taken once the general elections underway in the country are over.

The meeting between the two Foreign Ministers had come in the wake of heightened diplomatic tension between Iran and the US after Washington on April 22 announced that no fresh sanction waivers will be issued for Iranian oil imports to eight countries including India.

Tension also escalated between Iran and the United States after Washington deployed an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf last week over alleged threats from Iran.

Washington deployed more troops in the Persian Gulf, one of the world’s most strategic waterways, in what the US officials claimed was a reaction to photographs showing Iran had loaded missiles onto small traditional boats, The Times of Israel reported.

In addition, Washington’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the 2015 Iran nuclear deal has further aggravated contention for Iran.

The historic 2015 deal between Iran and world powers including the European Union and the US, offered sanctions relief to Iran for scaling back its nuclear programme.

“If the international community and other JCPOA member countries, and our friends in the JCPOA like China and Russia, want to keep this achievement, it is required that they make sure the Iranian people enjoy the benefits of the JCPOA with concrete actions,” Zarif told Al Jazeera.

“So far, the international community has mainly made statements instead of saving the deal,” he continued.
“The practical step is quite clear: Economic relations with Iran should be normalised. This is what the deal clearly addresses,” he was quoted as saying.

However, amid rising tensions in the Gulf, Iran on Thursday rejected negotiations with the US and said it was showing “maximum restraint” after Washington sent extra military forces to the region.

In the past week, Zarif had also made trips to Turkmenistan and Japan after Iran vowed to keep selling oil to its main customers, especially China even if it had to undertake indirect means.


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