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China calls for expanding consensus in Iran nuclear talks

Wang Qun (second left, front), Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna, attends a meeting of the Joint Commission on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Vienna, Austria, on May 19, 2021. (EU DELEGATION VIENNA / HANDOUT VIA XINHUA)

VIENNA – A senior Chinese envoy called for expanding consensus, properly handling differences and jointly promoting new breakthroughs in the eighth round of Iran nuclear talks which resumed here on Monday.

"On Iran nuclear issue and related nuclear non-proliferation issues, 'pragmatism' and double standards should not be adopted in pursuit of one's selfish interests," said Wang Qun, the Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has expressed concern over a pact among Australia, Britain and the United States (AUKUS) under which Washington and London will support Canberra in building nuclear-powered submarines, marking the first time for a non-nuclear weapons state to acquire nuclear-powered submarines.

On Iran nuclear issue and related nuclear non-proliferation issues, 'pragmatism' and double standards should not be adopted in pursuit of one's selfish interests.

Wang Qun, Chinese envoy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna

"Sanctions should also not be used for threatening casually and new sanctions should not be introduced against Iran during the negotiations," he noted.

The Joe Biden administration imposed fresh sanctions on two Iranian government agencies and several officials on Dec 7, on the sidelines of the last round of talks, which aimed at bringing the United States back to the Iran nuclear deal.

The parties resume the eighth round of negotiations during the Christmas and New Year holidays, and this in itself fully reflected the sense of urgency on all parties to resume negotiations, said Wang.

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Since early April this year, representatives from China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain and Iran have held seven rounds of negotiations in the Austrian capital, with the United States involved indirectly.

Despite different interpretations of the seventh round of negotiations, China, like most of the participants, believes that the negotiations have achieved positive results, Wang noted.

At present, all parties concerned should focus on consensus, especially the existing ones, and work hard to expand consensus on this basis, said Wang Qun, Chinese envoy to the United Nations, stressing that differences must be properly handled

The parties have forged a new "common text" on nuclear issues and a "common understanding" on lifting sanctions, Wang said, adding that the parties agreed to keep on negotiating thoroughly, with a focus on these key points, during their eighth round of talks.

All these consensuses laid a solid foundation for this round of talks, he said.

At present, all parties concerned should focus on consensus, especially the existing ones, and work hard to expand consensus on this basis, Wang said, stressing that differences must be properly handled.

"We hope that all parties can take practical measures to jointly safeguard the current momentum and atmosphere of the negotiations and push for an early conclusion of a package solution," Wang said.

China will continue to firmly support the resumption of negotiations between the United States and Iran on implementing the agreement, participate constructively in the follow-up negotiations, and work with all parties to push for results, said the Chinese envoy.

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The US government under Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018 and unilaterally re-imposed sanctions on Iran. In response, Iran has gradually stopped implementing parts of its commitments to the deal since May 2019.