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China reaffirms support for Iran as it calls for new Middle East forum

i24NEWS - AFP

clock 2 min read

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks outside the Lebanese Foreign Ministry in Lebanon, on Aug. 14, 2020.
AP/Hussein Malla 2020 ©Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks outside the Lebanese Foreign Ministry in Lebanon, on Aug. 14, 2020.

The forum would 'enhance mutual understanding through dialogue' and explore solutions for the region

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called for a new forum to defuse tensions in the Middle East after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart where he reiterated Beijing's support for Tehran.

Wang and Javid Zarif also reaffirmed their commitment to Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, an implicit rebuke of the United States for abandoning the accord during their Saturday meeting in China's southwestern Tengchong city.

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Iran has been locked in an acrimonious relationship with Saudi Arabia, the other major Middle Eastern power, over the war in Yemen, while tensions with arch-enemy Israel continue to escalate. 

Iranian influence in Iraq along with Tehran's "maligned" activities in the region, specifically in Syria and Lebanon, has also drawn the ire of Washington.  

"China proposes to build a regional multilateral dialogue platform with equal participation of all stakeholders," said the Chinese foreign ministry statement.

The forum would "enhance mutual understanding through dialogue and explore political and diplomatic solutions to security issues in the Middle East", the statement added.

Wang added that support for the Iranian nuclear deal, negotiated by the Obama administration but ultimately abandoned by US President Donald Trump, would be a precondition of entry to the forum.

Zarif said on Twitter his "fruitful talks" with Wang amounted to a rejection of "US unilateralism" and had also focused on strategic ties and collaboration on the development of a coronavirus vaccine.

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