China calls for US and Russian nuclear cuts and progress in Iran talks

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said "unilateral bullying acts of the United States" were the root cause of the Iranian nuclear issue. PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA (REUTERS) - Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Friday (June 11) urged the United States and Russia to cut their nuclear arsenals, days before US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet in Geneva.

Mr Wang, addressing the United Nations-backed Conference on Disarmament, said "unilateral bullying acts of the United States" were the root cause of the Iranian nuclear issue.

He said that as nuclear talks between Iran and the US in Vienna were in a final sprint, parties to the 2015 big-power agreement with Iran, the JCPOA, must redouble diplomatic efforts to "bring the JCPOA back on track".

Meanwhile, US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood urged China to engage in talks on risk reduction and strategic stability, saying he regretted that US efforts have been "rebuffed".

JCPOA refers to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal.

World powers have been negotiating in Vienna with Iran and the US to revive the 2015 deal, under which Teheran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

Then-president Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal in 2018.

The new US administration of President Joe Biden wants to restore the deal. But Washington's Gulf allies have always said that the deal was inadequate because it ignored other issues, such as Iran's missile exports and support for regional proxy fighters.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made clear on Monday (June 7) that Washington's priority was to get the deal "back in the box" and then use it as a platform to address other questions.

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