EU, China vow to uphold Iran nuclear deal
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EU, China vow to uphold Iran nuclear deal

As signatories scramble to salvage pact after US exit, European foreign policy chief says all parties have 'duty' to implement 2015 accord

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini address a joint press conference at the European Commission in Brussels on June 1, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel DUNAND)
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini address a joint press conference at the European Commission in Brussels on June 1, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel DUNAND)

The European Union and China said they will do their utmost to keep afloat an international agreement to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons despite the US abandoning the pact.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday that “we will be unswerving in upholding it.”

Speaking alongside EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, he said the agreement has been endorsed by the UN and that “every party has the duty to implement it.”

Mogherini, who helps oversee the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal, praised China and said Beijing, the EU and other partners are working “in full coordination” to save the pact.

China, Russia and the Western European powers of UK, France, and Germany, all of which signed the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, are scrambling to save the pact following US President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the agreement and reinstate sanctions.

Trump faulted the deal for not addressing Iran’s ballistic missile program or support for regional terror groups, while also arguing it brought the Iranians closer to obtaining nuclear weapons.

His criticism of the deal has been echoed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will travel to Germany, France and Britain next week for talks expected to focus on Iran.

Beijing, Iran’s top trade partner and one of the biggest buyers of its oil, has signaled that it intends to keep working with the Islamic regime despite the US move.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani prepare to shake hands at the conclusion of their joint press conference at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran, January 23, 2016. (Ebrahim Noroozi/AP)

Next week, China’s President Xi Jinping will meet Iran’s Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting on June 9-10 in Qingdao, according to Wang. Russian President Vladimir Putin will also attend the summit.

The summit will discuss a three-year action plan to “fight the three evil forces” — terrorism, separatism and extremism — and strengthen cooperation on tackling cybersecurity breaches and drug trafficking, Wang said.

China will also push for “reforms to the multilateral trading regime” connecting the markets of SCO members, which account for nearly 40 percent of the global population, he said.

Chinese businesses are expected to step up activities in Iran to fill the void left by the exit of US companies and the possible withdrawal of European rivals for fear of punitive measures enforced by the US.

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