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Source: Newsweek

Jan 5, 2024

China's Xi Sends Condolences to Iran After 'Serious Terror Attacks'

Chinese leader Xi Jinping extended his condolences to his counterpart in Iran in the wake of what he called a "serious terrorist attack" this week, state media said on Thursday.

A day earlier, two explosions unleashed chaos and killed at least 84 people during a commemorative event honoring the Quds Force's late Gen. Qassem Soleimani, whose 2020 assassination by a U.S. drone strike has continued to reverberate throughout the region.

Xi told President Ebrahim Raisi that he was "shocked to learn that serious terror attacks have taken place in Iran's Kerman, causing heavy casualties," China's official Xinhua News Agency said.

"Xi stressed that China opposes all forms of terrorism, strongly condemns terrorist attacks and firmly supports Iran's efforts in safeguarding national security and stability," Xinhua said.

The attack in southeastern Iran left scores wounded. Officials in Tehran immediately attributed the act to terrorism, and the Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility on Thursday for the deadliest attack in the country since the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Iran's mission to the United Nations said it would "respond with fire and fury to the orchestrators," but Tehran has yet to respond to the ISIS claim.

Iran is a key supporter of the Hamas militant group—both politically and by supplying arms. The Islamic Republic also is providing weapons to the Yemen-based Houthi rebels currently disrupting shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

China, on the other hand, has not taken sides in the Middle East, but it has yet to condemn the Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip since their deadly incursion into Israel last October, or directly blamed the Houthis for threatening international maritime security.

Beijing's relative silence appears to suit its geopolitical agenda in the region, where it has made a bold push for ceasefires brokered by its senior officials, leaning heavily on its relatively favorable image in the global south.

In a congratulatory message on Chinese New Year to President Xi Jinping of China, President Ebrahim Raisi praised the implementation of a 25-year comprehensive cooperation partnership between their two nations. Xi sent his condolences to Iran following a deadly terror attack that killed at least 84 people on January 3, 2024. GOVERNMENT OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN

In his message to Raisi, Xi expressed solidarity with Iran. The two nations have cultivated a partnership in recent years that spans the economic, military and technological domains.

Beijing and Tehran position themselves as a counterweight to U.S. influence in Asia and the Middle East, and in March 2021, they inked a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement, underscoring their commitment to deepening ties.

The Chinese leadership has not assigned blame for the attack in Iran. One Chinese expert, however, went a step further to directly link the suicide bombings to the United States and Israel.

Sun Degang, a researcher at Fudan University in Shanghai, pointed fingers at the Western allies, who he said benefited strategically from the attack against Iran.

Sun told the nationalistic news site Guancha that the U.S. and Israel may have instigated local factions to perpetrate the attack, which took place on the fourth anniversary of Soleimani's death.

"If we string this series of military actions together, we can find that the United States and Israel are launching multi-point precision strikes against Iran and its proxies," Sun said.

"Therefore, this violent terrorist attack in Iran is consistent with the recent military actions by the United States and Israel," he told Guancha.

Aadil Brar is a reporter for Newsweek based in Taipei, Taiwan. He covers international security, U.S.-China relations, and East Asian ...

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