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Amid Iran nuclear impasse, China calls out US for AUKUS 'double standards'

July 1, 2022 at 2:57 pm

Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations (UN) Zhang Jun speaks during the Security Council meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York City, United States on 28 February 2022. [Tayfun Coşkun – Anadolu Agency]

Calling for an “early and positive outcome” in ongoing talks on the Iran nuclear deal, China has urged the US to “abandon double standards” on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Referring to the AUKUS pact between the US, UK and Australia, China’s UN Envoy, Zhang Jun, told a Security Council session: “(It) is the first time since the NPT (Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons) was concluded, that a nuclear weapon state has openly transferred nuclear weapon materials to a non-nuclear weapon state.”

Under the AUKUS deal signed last year, Australia will build nuclear-powered submarines with the US and UK.

“Regardless of how the three countries may choose to name their nuclear submarine cooperation, the very essence of their nuclear proliferation behaviour cannot be concealed,” Zhang said during a UNSC session on the Iran nuclear deal on Thursday.

“Its negative impact on the political and diplomatic settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue cannot be undone; the risk it poses to regional peace and stability is a reality that cannot be changed.”

Following the US’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), talks to revive the agreement have been stalled due to key disagreements between Tehran and Washington, including the delisting of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Chances for Iran nuclear deal worse after Qatar talks: US official

Tehran has cited the US as the “main obstacle facing the current negotiations” on the landmark deal.

Welcoming the indirect talks between Washington and Tehran held in Qatar’s capital, Doha, this week, Zhang said: “The future of the Iranian nuclear issue is critical to the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, regional stability and international peace and security.”

The meeting in Doha, however, concluded without any concrete progress.

Zhang said adhering to “the overarching goal of a political solution” will keep the “resumed Iranian nuclear talks on the right track with a view to an early and positive outcome.”

The Chinese ambassador also called for “eliminating interference in the negotiation process.”

“Iran has every right to the peaceful uses of outer space. We all have different interpretations of the nature of Iran’s missile and space programs. We hope the parties concerned will accurately interpret the provisions of the Security Council resolutions on the issue of Iran’s missile launch, and avoid undermining the bigger picture of the JCPOA implementation,” he added.

“The practice of applying double standards to the detriment of the objectives and purposes of the NPT must be rectified in order to maintain the authority and effectiveness of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime.”​​​​​​​