China asks US to ‘alter its extreme pressure methods’ on Iran

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China on Tuesday reportedly called for the U.S. to alter its Iran strategy and pursue deescalation amid rising tensions over attacks on oil tankers and the Iran nuclear deal.

“We call on all sides to remain rational and exercise restraint, and not take any escalatory actions that irritate regional tensions, and not open a Pandora’s box,” Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing, according to Reuters.

“In particular, the U.S. side should alter its extreme pressure methods,” he added. “Any unilateral behavior has no basis in international law. Not only will it not resolve the problem, it will only create an even greater crisis.”

{mosads}Wang, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, made the remarks a day after acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced the U.S. would be deploying 1,000 troops to the Middle East, citing concerns about a threat from Tehran.

The announcement comes amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran following an attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week.

The U.S. has blamed Iran for the attack and produced images it claims show Iranians removing a mine from the hull of one ship, though Iran has strongly denied responsibility.

The U.K. and Saudi Arabia have backed the U.S. on blaming Iran for the incident, but Germany’s foreign minister has said more compelling evidence is needed, and the owner of one of the ships, the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, has contradicted the U.S.’s account of the attack.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran have deteriorated since President Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal last year.

On Monday, Tehran announced that it would soon exceed the limit on its uranium stockpile agreed to in the accord.

Wang on Tuesday said re-committing to the deal was key to assuage concerns about Iran’s nuclear capability.

“We understand that relevant parties may have different concerns, but first of all, the comprehensive nuclear deal should be properly implemented,” he said, according to Reuters. 

“We hope that Iran is cautious with its decisionmaking and not lightly abandon this agreement.”

Tags China Donald Trump Iran oil tanker attacks Patrick Shanahan

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