US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday that should China arm and finance Iran, it would destabilize the Middle East.
“China’s entry into Iran will destabilize the Middle East. Iran remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and to have access to weapons systems and commerce and money flowing from the Chinese Communist Party only compounds that risk for that region,” the state department cited Pompeo as saying in a tweet.
.@SecPompeo: China’s entry into Iran will destabilize the Middle East. Iran remains the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, and to have access to weapons systems and commerce and money flowing from the Chinese Communist Party only compounds that risk for that region. pic.twitter.com/sWlF0rv5mP— Department of State (@StateDept) August 9, 2020
Iran has a long history of arming and financially supporting its network of proxies – Shia militias across the Middle East – to further its influence in the region.
Pompeo had said on Wednesday that the United Nations Security Council will vote this week on the US bid to extend an international arms embargo on Iran, which is currently set to expire on October 18.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft had told Al Arabiya in July that if the arms embargo on Iran isn't extended, Tehran will supply its proxies in the region with even more weapons.
She said that would not only jeopardize the safety of countries in the Middle East but also the American forces in the region
Watch: If the arms embargo on #Iran is not extended, the Middle East, the American military placed in that region and the entire world will be in danger, #US Ambassador to the #UN Kelly Craft tells Al Arabiya.https://t.co/F2EVXfNTcq pic.twitter.com/MqG1amO8iE— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 9, 2020
The draft resolution needs at least nine votes in favor to force Russia and China to use their vetoes, which Moscow and Beijing have signaled they will do.
China has traditionally played little role in Middle East conflicts or diplomacy, despite relying on the region for oil, with Iran its fourth largest supplier last year, but has been trying to raise its profile, especially in the Arab world.
.@SecPompeo: The tide is turning. All across the world the threat from the Chinese Communist Party is becoming clearer and clearer, and nations that are likeminded are beginning to come together to rebalance, to push back against this, to protect our freedom and democracy. pic.twitter.com/NWPucPLmlH— Department of State (@StateDept) August 8, 2020
China has offered an economic lifeline to Iran since 2018, when US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out from the 2015 nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.
- With Reuters