Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to smooth over some tension between the two countries over what Tehran sees as a lack of interest from Beijing after the two countries signed a cooperation agreement in 2021 that extends for 25 years.
Analysts told the Financial Times that the tension between Beijing and Washington makes the relationship with Tehran all the more important for China.
TRENDPOST: We have documented how Iran, which has been isolated for years due to Western sanctions, is also growing closer with Russia since the start of the Ukraine War. (See “IRAN, RUSSIA MOVE CLOSER AND COULD BECOME ‘FULL-FLEDGED DEFENSE PARTNER’: BIDEN ADMINISTRATION” 13 Dec 2022 and “HYPOCRITES ON PARADE: WESTERN WEAPONS CONTINUE TO FLOW INTO KYIV, BUT CONDEMN IRAN FOR SENDING WEAPONS TO RUSSIA” 8 Nov 2022.)
Raisi, who was in China for a three-day visit, told reporters that the relationship between Tehran and Beijing is “moving forward,” but “what has been done is still behind what should have been done.” The Diplomat said Xi and Raisi signed 20 cooperation agreements on trade and tourism. It was the first visit by an Iranian president in 20 years.
Xi assured Raisi that Tehran has a friend in China and that Beijing supports Iran in “safeguarding national sovereignty.” In an indirect slap at the U.S., Xi said China stands with Iran in “resisting unilateralism and bullying.”
The Diplomat, citing China’s Foreign Ministry, reported that Xi said Beijing “opposes external forces interfering in Iran’s internal affairs and undermining Iran’s security and stability.” The statement said Xi promised to “work together on issues involving each other’s core interests.”
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported that Xi later hailed Beijing’s “solidarity and cooperation” with Iran “in the face of the current complex changes in the world, times, and history.”
Beijing is one of the biggest buyers of Iranian oil, but there is the feeling in Tehran that China has not done enough to keep its end of the bargain. William Figueroa, an expert on China-Iran relations, noted on Twitter, China has invested a paltry $162 million in Iran—“less than Afghanistan and Turkey,” The Diplomat reported.
The U.S. withdrew from the Obama-era nuke deal in 2018 under then-President Trump and the Biden administration has been negotiating a new compromise that, considering Washington’s relation with Israel, will bear no fruit. Washington has accused Tehran of attempting to develop its own nuclear weapons, which Tehran has denied.
Both China and Iran called on the U.S. to lift sanctions because “ensuring Iran’s economic dividends are an important component of the agreement.”
“All relevant sanctions should be fully abolished in a verifiable manner, promoting the agreement’s full and effective implementation,” the statement read, according to Al Jazeera.
TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported that WWIII has begun. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS News on Saturday that China is considering providing lethal support for Russia.
“There’s a whole gamut of things that—that fit in that category, everything from ammunition to the weapons themselves,” he said.
Only the U.S. gets to provide countries with weapons of death. We have reported on how the U.S. has tried to corral China into its anti-Russia alliance, but Beijing has made it clear that it will not be pressured. (See “BEIJING: STOP WESTERN SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA” 22 Mar 2022, “CHINA STANDS WITH RUSSIA. TELLS E.U. AND U.S. FU!” 5 Apr 2022, and “CHINA CALLS FOR RESTRAINT IN UKRAINE, BLAMES WEST FOR CALAMITY” 1 Mar 2022.)
Last September, Russia praised China for being responsible in its reaction to the invasion. And the No. 3 head of China, Li Zhanshu, said his country stood with Russia and gave them full “understanding and full support.”
Putin met with Xi in Beijing during the last Winter Olympics and the two released a statement that said their relationship has “no limits.”