Mikhail Ulyanov made the remarks in a tweet on Wednesday, reacting to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s emphasis on Beijing’s commitment to the talks.
“No doubt that China is committed to the JCPOA,” he wrote, using an acronym for the nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
He hastened to add, “The question is to what extent the US and E3 are committed to revitalisation of the nuclear deal and maintaining nuclear non-proliferation. This is a big question mark as of today.”
He also said the US and E3 – France, Britain, and Germany – may have a “hidden agenda” with regard to the issue.
Iran, Russia and China have repeatedly blamed Western countries for the impasse in the talks.
During a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raeisi on Tuesday, Xi stated China will continue playing a constructive role in resuming the JCPOA revival talks, support the Islamic Republic to safeguard its legitimate rights, and help “the early and proper resolution” of Iran’s nuclear issue.
Iran showed to the world the peaceful nature of its nuclear program by signing the JCPOA with six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China — in 2015. But, Washington’s unilateral withdrawal in May 2018 and its subsequent re-imposition of sanctions against Tehran left the future of the deal in limbo.
Negotiations between the parties to the deal kicked off in Vienna in April 2021, with the intention of bringing the US back into the deal and putting an end to its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran.
Tehran, whose strict adherence to the nuclear deal had been certified several times by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), maintains that it is necessary for the US to offer guarantees that it will not withdraw or violate the accord again.
The discussions, however, have been at a standstill since August 2022 due to Washington’s insistence on not lifting all of the sanctions slapped on Tehran by the previous US administration and offering the necessary guarantees.