Beijing Backs Iran, “Firmly Opposes” Unilateral US Sanctions

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In the latest sign of Beijing’s frustration with the US, the Chinese leadership have reiterated their opposition to American sanctions against Iran. After a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, Chinese Foregin Minister Wang Yi reiterated Beijing’s ‘firm opposition’ to unilateral US sanctions against Iran.


With the US moving more firepower into the Persian Gulf, an attempt to send Tehran an unmistakable message, Zarif asked Beijing to try and save the 2015 nuclear deal, WSJ reports.


Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Zarif’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart is the first step on a tour of Asia, as Iran canvasses its key economic partners now that US sanctions have been reimposed.

Mr. Zarif’s visit to China, where he will meet his Chinese counterpart, is part of a longer trip that includes other key economic partners Russia, Japan and India. It comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Tehran, which spiked over the past week when the U.S., citing unspecified intelligence, deployed an aircraft carrier, a bomber task force and other personnel to the Middle East.

The Iranian embassy in China said on Twitter that Mr. Zarif had “arrived in Beijing to maintain consultations between all-weather friends in the wake of new efforts to manufacture unnecessary tensions.”

China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed Mr. Zarif’s visit but declined to release further information.

The Iranian situation is difficult for Beijing, said Yin Gang, a Middle East politics expert with the government-backed Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He said the conflict isn’t simply between the U.S. and Iran but between Arab states and Iran. China, Mr. Yin said, “wants a balanced diplomacy in the Middle East, and hopes to make friends and do business with everyone.”

China imports crude from Iran and has expressed reservations about US sanctions in the past. However, given the state of the relationship between Washington and Beijing, the Chinese appear to be signaling that a proxy war over Iran could be just around the corner if Washington doesn’t seriously reevaluate its approach.

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