High-Profile Naval Visit Belies China’s Low-Profile Approach to Iran

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping before the opening ceremony at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai, China, May 21, 2014 (AP photo by Aly Song).
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping before the opening ceremony at the fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Shanghai, China, May 21, 2014 (AP photo by Aly Song).

Two Chinese warships paid a port call to Iran over the weekend, in advance of a four-day joint naval exercise with the Iranian navy that was reportedly to begin Monday. The visit highlights China’s ties with Iran, at a time when the outcome of international negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program remains uncertain. As those negotiations resume, China seems to be the least concerned of all the parties about their outcome. This apparent indifference is understandable: Iran is physically distant from China; has not threatened China directly or through supporting terrorism targeting China; and is not China’s only source of Middle […]

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