On December 13, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua met in Tehran, the nation’s capital.

Hu Chunhua said that in a meeting in September and over the phone in July, Xi and Raisi reached an important consensus on strengthening ties between China and Iran.

Hu’s visit follows that of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Last week, Xi visited Saudi Arabia to boost ties and make strategic deals.

According to Bloomberg News, Iranian lawmakers and officials heavily criticized Xi’s visit.

They denounced a joint statement from China and Gulf countries made during Xi’s visit that mentioned Tehran’s “destabilizing regional activities,” its nuclear program, and its “support for terrorist and sectarian groups,” expressed in language that reflected long-held Gulf views.

In addition, that joint statement also offered support for efforts by the United Arab Emirates to start formal negotiations about the sovereignty of three islands in the Persian Gulf that Iran has ruled since 1971. It is a sensitive topic for Tehran.  

As Xinhua News Agency reported, Hu said China “will not waver in its determination to develop their comprehensive strategic partnership.”

In response to the Xi visit and joint statement, some moderate Iranian media questioned Iran’s reliance on China. A front-page headline of one magazine, Arman-e Emrooz, supported Taiwanese independence.

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