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China and Iran Just Finalized a Disturbing Military Agreement with One Eye on the US

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China and Iran agreed to strengthen military ties during talks in Tehran on Wednesday, according to Chinese state-run media.

China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe met with Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi in Tehran for high-level talks, where the parties pledged to deepen counter-terrorism cooperation, ostensibly to further security and stability in the Middle East, Xinhua News reported Thursday. Wei guaranteed China would support Iran’s national sovereignty and dignity and expressed his nation’s intention to further develop their nation’s military relationship, according to the Chinese state-run media report.

The bilateral talks come just months after the two authoritarian nations struck the Iran-China 25-Year Cooperation Program in January, which established a “comprehensive strategic partnership” and detailed plans for coordination in political, cultural and security areas, according to an announcement from the Iranian government.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Mohammad Bagheri and Defense Minister Mohammad-Reza Gharaei Ashtiani also held formal discussions with Wei on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

“Wherever the U.S. has had military presence, it has created waves of insecurity, instability, rifts, pessimism, war, destruction and displacement,” Ashtiani told Wei, the AP reported.

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“Both China and Iran are targets of U.S. hegemonism,” Hua Liming, China’s former ambassador to Iran, told Chinese state-run media outlet Global Times Thursday. “I think this is the most important common language between the two countries.”

The deepening of ties between the two dictatorships also emerges as U.S.-Iranian negotiations concerning reinstating the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action appear to have reached an impasse, Axios reported Sunday.

In accordance with the JCPOA, Iran had agreed to allow international inspectors to return and pledged to limit “sensitive nuclear activities.” However, President Donald Trump nixed the deal and reintroduced sanctions in 2018 under his “maximum pressure” campaign, according to BBC News.

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