Iran, China agree to step up military cooperation
China and Iran agreed to step up their military cooperation on Wednesday, with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi expressing his desire for Beijing and Tehran to “contribute to the development of world peace”.
Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe met with Raisi and senior Iranian officials in Tehran for a series of high-level meetings to discuss strategic “long-term” relations.
Beijing and Tehran said they would work together on “military training and the exchange of knowledge”, Iran's Fars News Agency reported, quoting Mohammed Bagheri, the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces.
Wei said China was willing to “push forward pragmatic cooperation and bring military ties to a higher level,” the Chinese PLA Daily reported.
Wei also met with his Iranian counterpart, General Mohammad Reza Ashtinai, and invited him to visit China, along with other Iranian military officials.
"Iran and China can cooperate on all global issues and contribute to the development of world peace and tranquillity," said Raisi on Wednesday, according to Fars News Agency.
"Unilateralism hinders the sustainable economic growth of the world."
Tehran and Beijing, described as “like-minded” by the Iranian president, signed a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement last year, which entails economic, military and cybersecurity cooperation.
Iran sees Chinese investment as a “opportunity” amid economic isolation by the West; while China has capitalised on Iran’s “economic desperation” and “limited bargaining power,” according to Ghazal Vaisi, an Iran analyst.
China is also a signatory to the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, which US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned in 2018.
Tehran has accused the US of hindering a return to the agreement by refusing to lift its designation of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organisation.