China announced Monday that it will host Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the country next month.
The announcement follows a request from Iran’s ambassador to China for Beijing to help preserve what is left of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, following America’s withdrawal from it this month.
According to Reuters, China’s foreign ministry said on Monday that China will host Rouhani at a China- and Russia-led security bloc called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the northern Chinese city of Qingdao, located on the coast, during the second week of June.
During an interview with the South China Morning Post on May 21, Iran’s ambassador to China, Ali Asghar Khaji said, “We expect other remaining members of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, including China, to help implement and continue this deal, and fulfill their commitment and obligations according to this deal.”
He reportedly added, “If we could gain these rights and benefits from this deal we will stay in it. If these Iranian rights were not satisfied, and our interests were not reached, we will think about other options.”
China has a large stake in Iran.
Hours after President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s personal empire and Iran’s Central Bank, which directly funds Iran’s Islamic Regime Corps (IRGC), and effectively withdrew the United States from the landmark deal that came to fruition under the Obama administration, China’s state-run Global Times newspaper claimed Trump’s decision “will tarnish the reputation of the superpower.”
“What can Washington gain from dumping the deal and reimposing sanctions on Iran? The alleged gains are overwhelmed by losses,” the Global Times suggested.
Last year, in an interview with the New York Times, a Beijing entrepreneur said that, for China’s global ambitions, “Iran is at the center of everything.” China opposed Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal; a campaign promise the commander-in-chief fulfilled.