Amid the escalating tensions with the US, Iran and China continue to proactively boost their military ties as the Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe visited Tehran on Thursday to hold talks with senior Iranian officials, including President Ebrahim Raisi.
The agreement was announced by the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, who told reporters, “In Wednesday’s meeting with the Chinese minister of defence, we agreed to expand bilateral cooperation in joint military drills, exchange of strategies, training issues and other common fields between the two countries’ armed forces so that we can provide better security for the two countries’ territories.”
Apart from having agreed to expand their military cooperation, China is also willing to work with Iran to implement the bilateral comprehensive cooperation plan, and promote cooperation in jointly building the Belt and Road and in such fields as energy and resources, stated the media reports.
According to Middle East Monitor, Wei said that the purpose of the visit was “to improve the strategic defence cooperation between Beijing and Tehran”. He added that improving ties would provide security, particularly in the current critical and tense situation.
China and Iran have enhanced their military ties in recent years, amid tensions with the US. In January, both countries along with Russia held joint naval drills in the Indian Ocean, the third since 2019.
Last year China and Iran signed a 25-year cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening economic and political relations.
China has started to step into the US shoes in the Middle East by forging a strategic partnership with Iran causing concern in Washington as Chinese money will invariably weaken the effectiveness of American sanctions against Iran, that crippled its economy back in 2018.