China accuses US of 'bullying tactics', regrets Iran's uranium enrichment move
Beijing, Jul 8: China on Monday accused the US of creating a major global crisis with its "bullying tactics" as it regretted Iran's decision to resume uranium enrichment beyond the 2015 nuclear deal limits, calling on all the parties to exercise restraint to avoid escalation of the crisis.
Iran on Sunday announced to boost the enrichment of the uranium beyond the limits set by the landmark 2015 nuclear deal as a protest against President Donald Trump's decision in May to pull the US out of the deal.
While expressing regret and criticising the US for creating the crisis, China, however, skirted a direct response to the question whether it would continue to import Iranian oil in violation of the US sanctions.
"China regrets the Iranian announcement to further scale back its commitment to the nuclear deal," Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters here.
Ensuring the effective implementation of the deal is requirement of the UN Security Council resolution as well as the only viable way out of the nuclear issue and to ease the tensions, he said.
"We call on all parties to bear in mind to keep the big picture and long term interests and exercise restraint and support the settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue" by creating conditions to jointly upholding the deal, Geng said.
"The US maximum pressure is the root cause for the current crisis. The US not only pulled out of the nuclear deal but also exercised the unilateral sanctions and long arm jurisdiction over Iran creating increasing obstacles for the implementation of the deal.
"This in effect has proven that unilateral bullying act has created greater crisis worldwide. The international community should stay committed to multilateralism and seek political and diplomatic settlement under the international law," the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said.
Asked whether China, which is a major importer of Iranian oil, will stop buying it in response to the US threat to impose sanctions, Geng said: "I shall stress the international community including China have normal cooperation with Iran. This is legal and legitimate. That should be respected and protected.
"China is always opposed to the so called long arm jurisdiction we firmly defend our legal rights and interests".
On the UK seizing an Iranian oil ship at Gibraltar for allegedly carrying oil to Syria in violation of the European Union sanctions targeting the Assad regime, Geng said: "we oppose the so called long arm jurisdiction and the unilateral sanctions".
"The Gulf region has important influence over global energy supplies and global security and stability. We hope relevant parties will exercise restraint and stay calm to avoid escalating tensions and upholding peace and stability in the Gulf. This is in the interest of all international community," he added.
Trump last week warned that Iran is "playing with fire" after Tehran announced that it has exceeded the limit on enriched uranium reserves under the 2015 nuclear deal from which the US walked out last year.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has confirmed that Iran had exceeded the limit that the deal imposed on its stockpile of low-enriched uranium.
Under the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran had agreed to cap its stockpile of low-enriched uranium at 300 kilograms, one of the several restrictions on its nuclear activities, in exchange for the lifting of almost all international sanctions.
Iranian officials, however, said that they are violating the terms of the deal because the US withdrew and reimposed sanctions on Tehran.