Ali Asghar Khaji, Iran’s ambassador to China, said on Monday that he hopes China can help preserve what is left of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran nuclear deal, following America’s withdrawal from it earlier this month.
China is seeking to expand its political influence inside Iran and the larger region. The PRC is already Iran’s largest global trading partner. This is yet another puzzle piece of their global influence expansion — taking full advantage of areas of the world in which the U.S. does not find itself.
“We expect other remaining members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, including China, to help implement and continue this deal, and fulfill their commitment and obligations according to this deal,” Khaji said last week in an interview with South China Morning Post.
He reportedly added, “If we could gain these rights and benefits from this deal we will stay in it. If these Iranian rights were not satisfied, and our interests were not reached, we will think about other options,” without mentioning what the potential other options are.
Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with China, Russia, England, France, Germany, and the European Union to discuss ways to move forward with the JCPOA without the United States. Iran is making a full court press in its lobbying of the rest of the world.
Khaji reportedly told the Morning Post that Zarif “intentionally” stopped in Beijing before visiting other nations “because of the importance of China for us.” He added, “We expect China, as a member of the 5+1, to continue to play its positive role to implement and safeguard the nuclear deal.”
To that end, he reportedly added, “So with this positive atmosphere, we believe that, and we hope that, we can continue the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action without the United States.”
China appears to be accepting the tributary spirit in which Iran visited them and involving themselves as a great benefactor in the Iran nuclear deal negotiations. Reports published Sunday revealed that Chinese, European Union, and Russian diplomats have planned to meet in Vienna in the coming week to discuss ways to save the 2015 deal brokered by the former Obama administration.