In the aftermath of Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the emerging geopolitical axes – at least when it comes to the ongoing global proxy conflict involving Syria/Iran/Israel/Saudi Arabia, i.e. the Middle East – has made some notable changes.
On one hand, there is the core axis of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar, all of which are jousting for dominance with Iran, are eager to see the Iranian government and economy crash and burn (in some cases, literally) and have and will vocally back any move out of Washington that is adverse to Iran/Syria.
On the other hand, there is Russia which has firmly backed both the Iran and Syrian regimes, while also providing weapons and supplies to the two financially-strapped governments.
In the middle is Europe: unwilling to side with Trump and abrogate the Iran nuclear deal – after all, Europe gets much of its oil imports courtesy of Tehran while many European countries are currently branching out in Iran in hopes of finding more marginal clients, yet also unwilling to formally back Rouhani/Assad whom Trump has branded “terrorist.”
But what about the biggest and arguably most important emerging superpower, China, which until recently had held a very low profile when it comes to Iran? Well, overnight, perhaps prompted by the ongoing trade war with the US, Beijing decided there is no longer a need to stay mute, and as Xinhua reported, voiced regret over President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal and vowed to “safeguard” the agreement.
“China regrets this decision made by the US,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a press briefing on Wednesday. Geng said China will maintain “normal economic and trade exchanges” with Iran despite Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 accord and reimpose sanctions on Tehran.
“China will take an objective, fair and responsible attitude, maintain dialogues and consultations with all parties, and continue to work to maintain and implement the comprehensive agreement,” he said.
Then, adopting a more forceful tone, Geng said that “China calls on all relevant parties to assume a responsible attitude” in order “to return at an early date to the right track of implementing the deal,” and reiterated Beijing’s opposition to unilateral sanctions and “long-arm jurisdiction.”