Keywords in this article-Beijing’s only reliable oil supplier.
Source: Breaking Energy
Amid uncertainties about the incoming U.S. administration’s approach to the Middle East and the nuclear deal, Tehran and Beijing appear to be entering a new era in their strategic partnership, including the potential transfer of advanced weapon systems down the road.
Last week, Chinese defense minister Chang Wanquan concluded a three-day trip to Tehran, the latest in a series of high-ranking bilateral military exchanges over the past two years. Previously, during a January visit by President Xi Jinping, the two countries signed a twenty-five-year strategic cooperation agreement that included a call for much closer defense and intelligence ties. The June appointment of Maj. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri as Iran’s Armed Forces General Staff chairman is expected to expedite that process.
Military relations between the two countries date back to the early 1980s, but they went through a period of reduced cooperation as a result of international nuclear sanctions on Tehran. Today, they are once again poised to revive a relationship that could have considerable geopolitical implications for the region. The Chinese defense minister called the latest meetings a “turning point” in the strategic partnership, while Iran has continued to present itself as Beijing’s only reliable oil supplier.