Published: Fri, June 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Don't open 'Pandora's Box' in Middle East, China warns

Don't open 'Pandora's Box' in Middle East, China warns

The Chinese government's top diplomat, meanwhile, warned that the world should not open a "Pandora's Box" in the Middle East, as he denounced US pressure on Iran and called on Tehran not to drop out of a landmark nuclear deal.

The Chinese diplomat urged Washington to "alter its extreme pressure methods", adding that "any unilateral behavior has no basis in worldwide law".

It must, however, be acknowledged that the JCPOA has never been popular with Iranian hardliners, and the domestic success of President Hassan Rouhani's diplomatic engagement was always contingent on a steady flow of economic benefits.

Highlighting that this move "will be reversed once other parties live up to their commitments", Iran's atomic energy administration said it will go beyond the uranium stockpile limit determined by JCPOA from 27 June.

It believes it is entitled to do so because the United States pulled out of the pact and renewed sanctions against Tehran, which has given European powers until July 8 to find a way to protect the Iranian economy.

US President Donald Trump would consider using military force to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon but left open the question if it involved protecting oil supplies, he told Time magazine in an interview published on Tuesday.

The US military will send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East as tensions build with Iran.

Iran said in May it would start enriching uranium at a higher level, unless world powers protected its economy from USA sanctions within 60 days.

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Hours later, the Pentagon announced it was sending about 1,000 additional American troops to the Middle East to bolster security in the region.

That increased pressure preceded a string of attacks that the USA has blamed on Iran.

One of the dangers in the entire situation is the fact that Iran appears to have paid scant regard to outside attempts to reduce tensions in a strategically-important strait.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (and opposed the JCPOA but warned against Trump's unilateral withdrawal), tells me: "To start, we need to remember that the bad actor is Iran".

"The world is against the United States' unilateralism", the President continued, adding, "Our points of view are very close to those of China and Russian Federation in regional and global issues".

Tehran said in May it would reduce compliance with the nuclear pact it agreed with world powers in 2015, in protest at the United States' decision to unilaterally pull out of the agreement and reimpose sanctions previous year. "But now that we are here, I can understand why [Iranian] officials have no better option than to threaten uranium enrichment".

In an interview with Time magazine, Trump downplayed the threat posed by Iran, saying that while he was prepared to take military action to stop the country from having a nuclear bomb, Iran's hostility toward the USA had been diminished since he became president.

In its coverage of the story, The Jerusalem Post suggested that the attack may target a facility linked to Iran's nuclear programme.

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