China says U.S. responsible for Iran’s decision to expand uranium enrichment
By Atul Aneja
Source: The Hindu
“We hope the relevant parties will exercise restraint and to stay calm to avoid escalating tensions and upholding peace and stability in the Gulf,” says Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang.
China on Monday alleged that “unilateral bullying” by the United States was the “root cause” of Iran’s decision to expand uranium enrichment.
While regretting Iran’s announcement as a breach of the nuclear deal, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang made it plain that Washington’s policy of imposing “maximum pressure” on Iran was the “root cause of the current crisis”. He compared the U.S.’s international conduct to a “worsening tumour” that needed to be removed.
“The U.S. not only pulled out of the nuclear deal, but also exercised unilateral sanctions and long arm jurisdiction over Iran, creating increasing obstacles for the implementation of the deal. And the effects have proven that unilateral bullying act has become a worsening tumour and creating greater crisis and problems worldwide,” Mr. Geng said.
The foreign ministry followed up on its fierce attack on Washington by exhorting the “international community” to remain committed to multilateralism and seek political and diplomatic settlement of the issue under international law.
On Sunday, Iran announced that it would increase enrichment to 3.67% —far lower than the purity required for atomic weapons. Its deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, said at a news conference in Iran that the enrichment was necessary to fuel its Bushehr power plant, which requires fuel concentration of around 5 per cent.
Asked about the detention of an Iranian oil tanker, apparently ferrying crude to Syria, near Gibraltar by British special forces, Mr. Geng said: “First of all, China always believes that we should abide by international law and basic rules governing international relations in state to state exchanges. We oppose the so called long arm jurisdiction and unilateral sanctions. The Gulf region has important influence over energy supply and global security and stability. We hope the relevant parties will exercise restraint and to stay calm to avoid escalating tensions and upholding peace and stability in the Gulf. This is in the interest of the international community.”
At the press conference Mr. Aragchi said the seized oil tanker was not destined for Syria. The ship “was navigating in international waters,” he stressed, pointing out the Britain’s action amounted to “an act of piracy. The port named in Syria does not even have the capacity for such a supertanker to dock. Its destination was somewhere else.”
The 330-metre Grace 1 is capable of carrying two million barrels of oil.