Iran looking to increase military cooperation with 'like-minded' China

Chinese official say a stronger relationship between the two countries would be good for security

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Iran is looking to strengthen ties with China in hopes of countering the U.S., as discussions over a new Iran nuclear deal remain unfruitful.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi welcomed Chinese Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe, and the two men agreed on the strategic benefit of their alliance, Iranian state media reported according to The Associated Press. Wei said the purpose of the trip was "improving the strategic defense cooperation" between Iran and China.

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In this picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry, China's minister of national defense Gen. Wei Fenghe, left, is welcomed by Iran's defense minister Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, during an official welcoming ceremony, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

In this picture released by the official website of the Iranian Defense Ministry, China's minister of national defense Gen. Wei Fenghe, left, is welcomed by Iran's defense minister Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, during an official welcoming ceremony, in Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. (Iranian Defense Ministry via AP)

"Confronting unilateralism and creating stability and order is possible through cooperation of independent and like-minded powers," Raisi reportedly said.

Wei agreed, stating that a stronger relationship between the two countries would be good for security, "particularly in the current critical and tense situation."

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Iranian foreign minister Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtinai also met with Wei, who invited the Iranian official and others in the Iranian military to visit China.

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, Wednesday, April 27, 2022.

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, Wednesday, April 27, 2022. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

"Wherever the U.S. has had military presence, it has created waves of insecurity, instability, rifts, pessimism, war, destruction and displacement," Wei was quoted by Iranian media as saying.

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The two countries have been developing their military relationship, as they signed a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement in 2021 that includes economic and agricultural activities as well as transportation.  Iranian and Chinese navies have also visited each other’s ports and held joint drills in the Indian Ocean.