The Iranian Army’s Ground Force Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari met with a delegation from China’s Ministry of National Defense Tuesday to discuss ways to boost defense ties between Tehran and Beijing. Both parties appeared to agree that the United States poses “the biggest threat to humanity.”
According to Iran’s state-run Tasnim News agency, Gen. Heidari “praised the bilateral relations between Iran and China as age-old and said the two countries are major and influential powers in the region and the world.” Heidari reportedly then “further emphasized that Tehran and Beijing face common threats at the regional and international levels, including the US government’s hegemonic system which is “the biggest threat to humanity.'”
Iran has relied heavily on China recently, particularly as the Islamic Republic seeks to preserve whatever is left of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran nuclear deal, following America’s withdrawal from it on May 8. China is Iran’s top trading partner and has actively sought to expand its political influence in the country and the larger region.
“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,” Iran’s ambassador to China, Ali Asghar Khaji, told the South China Morning Post.
According to Reuters, foreign ministers from China, France, Germany, Britain, and Russia will meet with Iranian officials in Vienna on Friday to discuss how to keep the JCPOA alive.
In November 2016, Iran’s and China’s defense ministries signed an agreement in Iran’s capital city Tehran to enhance defense cooperation between the nations.
The nations reportedly agreed to exchange information on their military experiences, joint counter-terrorism and military training, and causes of regional insecurity for both countries.
The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) and the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy (NEDAJA) held a joint naval drill in the Persian Gulf for the first time in 2014.
In June 2017, China and Iran again held a naval exercise using two PLAN destroyers and a NEDAJA warship in the eastern portion of the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman.