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The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 2231 (2015), is an important outcome of multilateral diplomacy and a key element in the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. Preserving the Plan is conducive to safeguarding multilateralism, the international order based on international law and peace and stability in the Middle East.

In May 2018, the United States of America unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and reinstated illegal unilateral sanctions against Iran. This violated the Plan and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015). Recently, the United States decided to end its sanctions waiver covering the nuclear projects under the framework of the Plan, including the modernization of the Arak heavy water reactor, the provision of enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor and the export of spent and scrap research reactor fuel from Iran, further undermining the efforts of relevant parties to uphold the Plan. We urge the United States to stop its unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction”, which have no grounds in international law, to return to the right track of observing the Plan and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), and to work with all parties to uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and peace and stability in the Middle East.

China is firmly committed to upholding the authority of Security Council resolution 2231 (2015) and the efficacy of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. We disapprove of the push by the United States to extend the arms embargo on Iran at the Security Council. All provisions of resolution 2231 (2015), including the relevant arrangements on arms-related restrictive measures, should be earnestly implemented. The United States, no longer a participant in the Plan after withdrawing from it, has no right to demand that the Security Council invoke the snapback provision.

The only way to move forward on the Iranian nuclear issue is to effectively safeguard and implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The steps taken by Iran to reduce its commitments under the Plan were the result of the maximum pressure campaign of the United States. Disputes over the implementation of the Plan should be properly addressed within the framework of the Joint Commission established by the Plan. It is imperative to take a phased, reciprocal approach to maintain economic benefits for Iran, while urging it to meet its commitments in full, thus restoring the balance between the rights and obligations under the Plan.

Ever since the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, China has strictly observed it and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015), and has earnestly fulfilled its obligations. China has led the productive efforts on the modernization of the Arak heavy water reactor, another concrete action to uphold and implement the Plan. China stands ready to work with relevant parties and the international community to continue to uphold the Plan and resolution 2231 (2015), to safeguard multilateralism and to seek a political and diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. While we are committed to doing the above, we are and will be firm in safeguarding our legitimate rights and interests.

I should be grateful if the present letter could be circulated as a document of the Security Council.