By Tom O’Connor | NewsWeek |
China and Russia say the United States is responsible for Iran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile reaching levels beyond those set by a 2015 nuclear deal abandoned last year by President Donald Trump, but praised the U.S. leader for his efforts to forge peace with North Korea.
Following a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency suggesting that Iran’s enriched uranium stocks had exceeded the nuclear agreement’s limits, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang expressed “regret” at Tehran’s decision during a press conference Tuesday, but ultimately concluded “that the U.S.’ extreme pressure is the root cause of the current Iranian nuclear tension.” He also noted that the “Iranian side has repeatedly stressed that it is willing to stay in a comprehensive agreement, and the measures it has taken are reversible.”
Geng called on all “parties to proceed from the overall situation and in the long-term, exercise restraint, jointly safeguard comprehensive agreements and avoid escalating tensions.”
Back in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed a similar sentiment during following talks with his Irish counterpart, noting how one of the more recent packages of U.S. sanctions on Iran unleashed in May “forbade anyone to buy excess low-enriched uranium and heavy water from Iran,” essentially banning countries from following the United Nations resolution supporting the nuclear deal and allowing Tehran’s stockpile to grow. He also noted how a long-awaited European initiative to bypass U.S. restrictions emerged Friday largely without teeth.