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China, Iran relations widen amid renewed nuclear talks

While pressuring Washington to drop sanctions and renew the JCPOA, Beijing has expanded trade and military relations with Tehran and its neighbors.

In the puzzle that is known as the Iran nuclear deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — the United States holds the key, China’s Foreign Ministry said Feb. 24. Beijing insisted that Washington’s return to the deal and lifting of sanctions against Tehran would transform the critical gridlock that Iran’s nuclear program is facing from a challenge into an international opportunity.  

But we are in a different geopolitical environment today than when the deal was first signed in 2015. Iran has emerged as arguably China’s most strategic ally in the region. Concurrently, US relations with both Iran and China have deteriorated since February 2006, when the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors referred the Iranian nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council, prompting the formation of the nuclear deal.

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