Despite the US exit from the Iran nuclear deal, China will maintain a dialogue with all the countries and will stand by and implement the provisions of the accord, which it sees as conducive to nuclear nonproliferation and ensuring peace and stability in the Middle East, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said.
Some analysts believe that the new situation around Iran could prod it towards China and Russia.
In an interview with Sputnik, Irina Fyodorova, an Iranian-affairs expert at the Institute of Oriental Studies in Moscow, Washington’s decision to walk out of the deal has strengthened China’s sway in Iran and simultaneously increased Tehran’s dependence on Chinese investments and technologies.
“China has always found a way to move around the most debilitating Western sanctions against Iran and has good experience of building up ties with countries in Europe, Latin and North America while other countries refused to deal with them, bowing to US pressure. This means that China will be setting up companies that will operate inside Iran and work with the Iranians and be immune to US sanctions,” Fyodorova said.
She added that even though the Iranians may not be too happy about being so over-dependent on China, with bilateral trade now nearing $60 billion, they have no other choice.
When asked what China can do to ensure the full implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, Ji Kaiyun, director of the China Southwestern University’s Center of Iranian Studies, said that, first and foremost, Beijing needs to persuade Israel and Saudi Arabia to handle the situation in a cool-headed manner while talking Tehran out of any rash response to Washington’s moves.
“They will also need constructive discussions with the EU, whether domestic or global, and invite the sides to the negotiating table. Even though the US has withdrawn from the deal, China needs to build up across-the-board cooperation with Iran in order to ease existing tensions. Besides, with the US exit and the growing antagonism between Iran on the one side and Israel and Saudi Arabia on the other to an extent that the latter could consider a “surgical operation” as a way to solve the problem, China should have a contingency plan of its own,” Ji Kaiyun said.
Some analysts believe that if China and the EU discuss the US sanctions on Iran and find legal and economic ways to resist them, this could send a clear political message to Washington.
Tytti Erasto, a researcher on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation issues at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, said that
China could even help the EU bypass the US sanctions by offering alternative financial channels of doing business with Tehran. In an interview with Sputnik, she said that because China is not really interested in helping the European countries get around the US sanctions, it will cooperate, but only with its own gain in mind.
“China is not someone who will give anything for nothing. Just the opposite, it will continue using this window of opportunity to make sure that its investments and technologies have as much impact in Iran as possible,” Erasto noted.
On May 8, President Donald Trump said that the United States was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which requires Tehran to maintain a peaceful nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.
Trump promised to reinstate the previous sanctions and add new ones.
The leaders of Britain, France and Germany have urged all the signatories to the JCPOA to stick to its provisions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has pledged to continue implementing the terms of the accord.
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