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Iran’s Raisi calls for closer military cooperation with China to counter US

In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Ebrahim Raisi, right, and China's minister of national defense Gen. Wei Fenghe greet at the start of their meeting at the presidency office in Tehran, Iran, April 27, 2022. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)
In this photo released by the official website of the office of the Iranian Presidency, President Ebrahim Raisi, right, and China's minister of national defense Gen. Wei Fenghe greet at the start of their meeting at the presidency office in Tehran, Iran, April 27, 2022. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has expressed his government’s desire for closer cooperation with China in remarks made during a visit by the Chinese defense minister, state media reports.

According to the report, Raisi tells China’s Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe that Tehran sees its ties with Beijing as strategic. Closer cooperation would serve to confront what the Iranian president describes as US unilateralism as talks to revive Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers have stalled.

“Confronting unilateralism and creating stability and order is possible through cooperation of independent and like-minded powers,” Raisi is quoted as saying today.

Wei in turn says improving ties between Iran and China would provide security, “particularly in the current critical and tense situation.”

Wei also meets with his Iranian counterpart, Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtinai, and reportedly invites him to visit China, as well as with other Iranian military officials.

The official IRNA news agency quotes Ashtiani as assailing US military presence in the Middle East and elsewhere, claiming that “wherever the US has had military presence, it has created waves of insecurity, instability, rifts, pessimism, war, destruction and displacement.”

Wei says his visit was aimed at “improving the strategic defense cooperation” between Iran and China — cooperation that he says will have a “remarkable” impact in defusing unilateralism and fighting terrorism.

Iran and China have increased their military ties in recent years, with their navies visiting each other’s ports and holding joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean.

In 2021, Iran and China signed a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement that covered a variety of economic activities from oil and mining to promoting industrial activity in Iran, as well as transportation and agricultural collaborations.

China is a signatory to the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, along with Russia, Britain, France and Germany.

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