China has slammed the United States for requesting sanctions on Tehran, pointing out that it was President Donald Trump who withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
"We have repeatedly said that the US has already withdrawn from the JCPOA and therefore has no right to request the restoration of the UN sanctions regime against Iran", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a briefing.
At the same time, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has also criticised the US, calling the idea of sanctions "absurd" and stressing that Washington's threats against Russian and China for cooperating with Iran are baseless.
"After the United States left the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], it has lost all rights within this document. It has no legal or political rights to use the articles of [UNSC Resolution] 2231 against Iran, we think. It is absurd. We condemn these actions by the United States. No statements that we hear from Washington about Russia and China allegedly having to think about consequences — in the usual US style — will change our position", the Russian diplomat said.
The US decided it would trigger the snapback mechanism to re-impose the restrictions, lifted by the agreement, after an American resolution aiming to indefinitely extend a UN arms embargo failed at the Security Council.
The procedure is described in Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear agreement, and stipulates that if one of the signatories finds another side not performing its commitments under the accord, the UN Security Council would have a vote on whether to continue with the suspension of the sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Relations between Washington and Tehran have been in a downward spiral since May 2018, when Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and reinstated all sanctions against the Islamic Republic. On the one-year anniversary of the unilateral US pullout from the agreement, Iran announced that it would suspend some of its voluntary commitments under the deal, but stressed that it is not interested in developing nuclear weapons.