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EghtesadOnline: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held talks with his Chinese counterpart on Tuesday to discuss a 25-year roadmap for boosting ties, concerns surrounding the Iran nuclear deal and stability in the Middle East.

Zarif and Wang Yi followed up on a scheme to promote Iran-China strategic relations in various sectors, including technology, investment, tourism and agriculture in their meeting in Beijing, IRNA reported.

Iran’s top diplomat had presented the 25-year roadmap to Chinese top officials in August. Promoting economic diplomacy, the plan envisions long-term cooperation between the two countries and actively contributes to the Chinese “Belt & Road Initiative”—a global development strategy. 

The chief diplomat also discussed trilateral relations among China, Iran and Russia, pointing to the necessity of holding political consultations because of mutual interests, according to Financial Tribune.

The minister's working visit to Beijing was scheduled right after his meeting with top Russian officials in Moscow on Monday.

Following a coalition formed by the US against Iran, the country launched a trilateral naval drill with China and Russia to set an example for cooperation to promote security in sensitive waterways south of Iran. 

Zarif reminded, “You cannot form coalitions against one country. Cooperation must replace confrontation; this is the message we are sending by holding the maritime exercise." 

The first of a series of planned drills among the three countries concluded on Sunday. 

Iran has long floated the idea that cooperation with political heavyweights China and Russia can help bring stability to the war-torn Middle East. 

 

 

Nuclear Standoff  

The 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, was as always a topic of discussion in Zarif's meeting with Wang Yi. 

"We are in full agreement with China and Russia that the main issue with JCPOA is the US withdrawal," the foreign minister told IRNA after the meeting. 

Iran has been scaling back its commitments to the accord to restore balance to US measures that have restricted Iran's access to the benefits of the deal. 

US President Donald Trump reneged on the nuclear deal in May 2018 and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Tehran, which have adversely affected the country's economy. 

Commenting on calls by world powers for Iran to return to full compliance with JCPOA, Zarif said Iran is ready to go back to the previous status of the deal, if Europe honors its obligations. 

Zarif maintained, "We do not expect the European Union to make up for US presence in the deal. We only expect them to meet their own commitments under the terms of the deal."

While China and Russia see Iran's countermeasures as inevitable due to the US breach of trust, European powers have made threats to trigger the deal's dispute mechanism that could culminate in the United Nations Security Council with a so-called snapback of global sanction on Tehran. 

Since Iran's step-by-step retreat is in keeping with JCPOA provisions, European powers are hesitant about activating the dispute mechanism or leaving the deal. The deal's signatories are against US unilateralism and particularly its approach to the landmark nuclear accord.

In his talk with IRNA, Zarif also said, “It is unlikely that the Europeans will do away with the deal.” 

 

Iran Javad Zarif Zarif China regional stability Middle East nuclear deal stability Roadmap 25-Year Wang Foreign Minister Mohammad