China and Russia Stand up for Iran After Gulf Tanker Attacks

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping enter a hall during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on June 5, 2019. (Photo by Maxim SHIPENKOV / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read MAXIM SHIPENKOV/AFP/Getty Images)
MAXIM SHIPENKOV/AFP/Getty

Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed solidarity with Iran on Friday, even as the U.S. Navy revealed evidence the Iranians were behind the terrorist attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

“The pressures that the US government imposes on Iran and China and other countries are aimed at dominating the whole of Asia and the world,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said after meeting with Xi on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Kyrgyzstan.

Rouhani called for China to cooperate with Iran on resistance against “American unilateralism” and portrayed Iran as heroically resisting the pressure from U.S. sanctions.

“The Iranian people have shown that they are not shaken by the foreign pressures, but become more united and more resistant,” Rouhani said.

China’s state-run Xinhua news service summarized Xi’s response:

China has always viewed its relations with Iran from a strategic and long-term perspective, said Xi, adding that despite changes in regional and international situations, the Chinese side is willing to join hands with the Iranian side in fostering a continuous and steady development of the China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership.

The Chinese president called on the two sides to strengthen strategic communication and support each other on issues concerning their respective core interests, adding that the two countries also need to step up coordination and conduct practical cooperation properly.

He also urged the two sides to enhance cooperation in such areas as anti-terrorism and combating cross-border crimes, and jointly clamp down the “three forces” of terrorism, separatism, and extremism, including East Turkistan Islamic Movement.

China supports maintaining the Iran nuclear deal, said Xi, and is willing to step up coordination with Iran within such multilateral frameworks as the United Nations and the SCO to jointly safeguard basic norms of international relations and multilateralism and preserve shared interests of developing countries, including China and Iran.

Rouhani also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kyrgyzstan summit, urging closer cooperation to resist “external pressure and foreign sanctions.”

“The situation in the region requires stronger interaction between our nations,” Rouhani told Putin.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif praised the “important multilateral dialogue” and “fruitful bilateral talks” between Rouhani and the leaders of China and Russia.

“Unilateral U.S. actions – including its economic terrorism on Iran – are solely responsible for insecurity and renewed tension in our region,” Zarif said.

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