The anti-West axis appears to be growing on the peripheries of the Ukraine conflict as Washington is perceived as giving an unbending 'with us or against us' ultimatum. Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi hailed deepening strategic and military cooperation between the Islamic Republic and China on Wednesday.
According state media cited in The Associated Press, "Raisi told China’s Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe that Tehran sees its ties with Beijing as strategic. Closer cooperation would serve to confront what the Iranian president described as U.S. unilateralism as talks to revive Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers have stalled."
Raisi appeared to indirectly reference the US and perhaps NATO, which included urging the two countries to cooperate in "Confronting unilateralism and creating stability and order is possible through cooperation of independent and like-minded powers."
Wei too seemed to remotely reference the Ukraine crisis and the West's economic war against Russia when he said China and Iran could deepen security ties "particularly in the current critical and tense situation." And more, per the AP:
Wei said his visit was aimed at "improving the strategic defense cooperation" between Iran and China — cooperation that he said would have a "remarkable" impact in defusing unilateralism and fighting terrorism.
The harshest and most direct criticism aimed at Washington came from Iran's defense chief, Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtinai, who blasted US militarism and aggression abroad.
Ashtinai said, "wherever the U.S. has had military presence, it has created waves of insecurity, instability, rifts, pessimism, war, destruction and displacement."
Iran's Gen. Ashtinai is expected to visit China next as head of a military delegation from the Islamic Republic at the invitation of Beijing, in furtherance of the declared deepened defense and strategic ties. Recently, in 2021, the two countries signed a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement focusing on industrial development, infrastructure and transportation.
Multiple of the world's largest economies have recently seen their leaders either sit on the fence regarding US pressure to jump on the Russia sanctions bandwagon, or outright blame NATO for stoking the conflict, as was the case with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa...
I’m telling my kids these were the men in black. Oh and if you don’t already know who these people are please become firmiliar with them because you’ll be seeing their names and faces much more than you ever have before. #China #Russia #India #SouthAfrica #Brazil pic.twitter.com/CosSfiVW07— The Breakout Boss (@BreakoutBen) March 14, 2022
Officials in Tehran have this week voiced their view that Washington will be forced back to the negotiating table in Vienna amid the stalled nuclear deal due to events in Ukraine and the resulting European energy crisis. Earlier this month Iran said that it considers all that's needed for a renewed JCPOA agreement as essentially a 'done deal' - but that it's the US that's stalling.
"Failure to reach a deal [so far] is a result of domestic troubles in the US but the ever-increasing problems caused by the Ukraine war will put pressure on [President Joe] Biden to accept the necessity of a deal [with Tehran]," a spokesman for Iranian delegation to the Vienna nuclear talks said to official news agency IRNA on Sunday.