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China tells Iran cooperation will last after attack on Israel

China tells Iran cooperation will last after attack on Israel
A group gather in Palestine Square in the Iranian capital Tehran, staging a demonstration to support Iran's drone and missile attacks on Israel, on 15 April. (Photo: Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu/Getty Images)

China’s top diplomat told Iran that the nations can work together across a range of areas in the future, signalling their ties remain solid following Tehran’s unprecedented attack on Israel.

“China is ready to steadily advance practical cooperation in various fields with Iran and promote greater development of China-Iran relations,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told Iranian counterpart Hossein Amirabdollahian in a phone call on Monday.

Wang also said China noted Iran’s position that its military action was “limited” and the country was “exercising its right of self-defence,” according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry in Beijing. China also believed Iran could handle the situation to “avoid further turbulence”, he said.

Wang’s comments offer Iran a measure of diplomatic support after its missile and drone attack on Israel sparked worries of a broader conflict. Tehran said the move was retaliation for an attack on its embassy compound in Syria that killed top Iranian military officers. This was the first time Iran has struck Israel from its soil.

On Monday, the US House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed legislation aimed at countering China’s purchase of Iranian crude oil as part of a package of bills being brought to the floor in response to Iran’s move.

Wang didn’t say the type of cooperation China was ready to advance with Iran but Beijing has made similar pledges in the past. Last year, Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed to deepen ties after meeting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Beijing. The US had said just weeks earlier that it would increase pressure on China to stop buying Iranian oil. 

China is a main customer for Iran’s oil, though in January Tehran withheld shipments to demand higher prices. Beijing is also a key negotiating power in the stalled talks to revive the 2015 nuclear deal.

China helped Iran and Saudi Arabia reach a deal last year to ease years of diplomatic deadlock between the Middle East rivals. China also pushed to expand the BRICS bloc that it aspires to lead, and Iran became a member to start 2024.


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