UAE, Iran to hold maritime security talks
TOKYO, July 30, (Agencies): China urged the US to stop imposing “maximum pressure” against Iran and avoid creating new obstacles for parties to implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), state-run Xinhua News Agency reported. “Ensuring the full and effective implementation of the JCPOA is both the requirement of UN Security Council resolutions and the only viable and effective approach to resolve the Iran nuclear issue and deescalate tensions,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a press briefing in Beijing when asked to comment on a meeting held in Vienna last night. According to Hua, at the request of Britain, France and Germany, a meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA was held to discuss the implementation of the JCPOA.
“The Chinese side called on parties to remain calm and restrained, resolve differences within the framework of the Joint Commission meetings and promote the easing of the current tensions,” she said. At the Vienna meeting, the parties reaffirmed their commitment to the JCPOA, sought to resolve the issue of Iran’s implementation and reiterated their opposition to the US adoption of unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction to obstruct other countries’ implementation of the JCPOA, Hua added. Iran was to revive maritime security talks on Tuesday with traditional foe the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an apparent bid to calm tensions in the Gulf, although a Gulf official described the discussions as routine and technical.
The talks follow weeks of heightened political friction around the strategic waterway stemming from hostility between Tehran and Washington, the main Western ally of Gulf Arab states long wary of the Islamic Republic. The discussions had been off since 2013, but the UAE is widely seen in the region as wanting to guard its reputation as a safe business hub. “The 6th joint meeting will be held on Tuesday between a visiting seven-member delegation from the United Arab Emirates’ coast guard and Iranian officials in Tehran,” Iran’s semi-official Students News Agency (ISNA) reported. Without giving a source, ISNA said issues from shared borders, visits by citizens of each nation, illegal entries, and maritime connections would be discussed. A Gulf official said the meeting was not related to tensions in the region.
“It is a technical meeting that was organized a long time ago to discuss routine maritime issues,” the official told Reuters. Attacks on Saudi tankers and other vessels off the UAE coast in May increased tensions between the United States, Iran and Gulf Arab states. Washington and its Sunni Arab allies blamed Iran for the attacks, but Tehran denied that. The UAE tempered its reaction to the attacks, and has also scaled back its military presence in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is involved in a proxy war with Shi’ite Iran. Iran has said it wants to improve relations with its regional Sunni rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
“Iran has always given extreme importance to the security of the Arabian Gulf and it needs cooperation among all Gulf states,” said an Iranian official who asked not to be named. Washington and Tehran are in a protracted standoff over Iran’s nuclear and missile programs, and its regional influence. Washington has imposed and tightened sanctions on Iran’s oil exports after President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran’s 2015 deal with major powers, under which Tehran got access to world trade in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
Tehran has repeatedly warned it would block exports through the waterway if the United States tried to strangle its economy. Iran’s foreign minister called on Tuesday on Trump to reject his hawkish allies’ thirst for war, adding that Iranians had outlasted every aggressor for millennia. “For millennia, Iranians have outlasted every aggressor… @realDonaldTrump: reject #B_Team’s fake history & its thirst for #ForeverWar. Diplomacy=prudence; never weakness,” Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted. Zarif has in the past said that a so-called “B-team” including Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton, an ardent Iran hawk, and conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could goad Trump into a conflict with Tehran.