Iran acquiring Chinese weapons and financing will destabilize Middle East: Pompeo

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani (L) shaking hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Shanghai, May 21, 2014. (File photo: Reuters)

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.

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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

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.

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

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Last Update: Sunday, 09 August 2020 KSA 05:34 - GMT 02:34
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