Tehran, Beijing Keen on Bolstering Defense Ties

Tehran, Beijing Keen on Bolstering Defense TiesTehran, Beijing Keen on Bolstering Defense Ties

Increased contacts between Iranian and Chinese defense officials are a sign of interest in Tehran and Beijing to develop a strong military partnership, which will help promote stability and calm in the region, said a lawmaker.

Masoud Goudarzi, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, made the statement in an interview with ICANA on Monday.

Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan was in Tehran for a three-day visit last week, in response to a 2014 visit to China by his Iranian counterpart, Lieutenant General Hossein Dehqan.

The top defense officials also discussed defense relations in Russia in April, during the fourth Moscow International Security Conference. Goudarzi described the Chinese military as a powerful global force and said improved relations can greatly bolster Iranian defense capabilities.

"Holding joint military exercises [with China] can help improve skills and preparedness of our forces," he said.

On November 14, the Iranian and Chinese defense chiefs signed a defense agreement that includes the exchange of military experiences, particularly regarding training and coordination of serious efforts against terrorism and factors contributing to insecurity in the region. The two sides also agreed to hold joint counter-terrorism military exercises in the near future. In 2014, for the first time ever, Iranian and Chinese navies held a joint naval drill in Persian Gulf waters.

Mohammad Ebrahim Rezaei, another parliamentarian, also told ICANA on Sunday that closer alignment between Tehran and Beijing, which have many shared interests in the turbulent West Asia, shows that the world is changing.

"China has realized the significant threat posed to it by the US and the West and the Chinese need closer cooperation with influential countries like Iran to protect themselves," he said. Rezaei noted that the US has adopted a hostile stance toward Iran, Russia and China in recent years and these countries know they should be united to advance their shared interests.

"The international stage is undergoing transformation and those who are against arrogant countries are gradually converging," he said. In a January visit to Tehran by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two countries promised to boost defense collaboration, including broader exchange of "equipment and technology".

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