China hopes Iran nuclear deal stays intact amid Donald Trump criticism

If US President Donald Trump declines to certify Iran's compliance, US congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.
If US President Donald Trump declines to certify Iran's compliance, US congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China said on Monday (Oct 9) that it hopes the Iran nuclear deal will stay intact, playing an important role in keeping the peace, after a senior US official said President Donald Trump is expected to decertify the agreement.

The official, speaking last week on condition of anonymity, said Mr Trump was also expected to roll out a broader US strategy on Iran that would be more confrontational. The Trump administration has frequently criticised Iran's conduct in the Middle East.

Mr Trump, who has called the pact an "embarrassment" and "the worst deal ever negotiated", has been weighing whether it serves US security interests as he faces an Oct 15 deadline for certifying that Iran is complying with its terms.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said the Iran nuclear deal was a good example of how to solve something peacefully through talks.

The agreement had played a positive and important role in ensuring nuclear non-proliferation and protecting peace and stability in the Middle East, she added.

"We hope that the comprehensive Iran nuclear agreement can continue to be earnestly implemented," Ms Hua told a daily news briefing.

Iranian authorities have repeatedly said Tehran would not be the first to violate the accord, under which Iran agreed to restrict its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of most international sanctions that had crippled its economy.

If Mr Trump declines to certify Iran's compliance, US congressional leaders would have 60 days to decide whether to reimpose sanctions on Tehran suspended under the agreement.

The prospect that Washington could renege on the pact, which was signed by the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, the European Union and Iran, has worried some US allies.

China has close economic and diplomatic ties with Tehran, and was also instrumental in pushing through the landmark 2015 deal.