12/14/2022, 17.16
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Iranian paper praises Taiwan independence amid Sino-Iranian tensions

In a front-page piece, the Arman Daily backs Taiwanese independence. Iranian president asks the Chinese for "compensation" after Xi Jinping's visit to Saudi Arabia and the questioning of Iranian sovereignty over three Persian Gulf islands. Other newspapers in Iran published articles critical of China.

Taipei (AsiaNews) – Amid rising tensions between Iran and China following the recent visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Saudi Arabia, an Iranian newspaper, Arman Daily, published an article titled “Taiwan independence is a legal right,” which was later picked up by Taiwan News.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are rivals in the Middle East, and China has always pursued a balanced policy between the two countries. However, Iran was irked by the positive outcome of the China-Gulf Cooperation Council summit in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia) and a joint Sino-GCC statement that seemed to question Iranian sovereignty over three islands in the Persian Gulf.

Last Saturday, Iranian authorities conveyed their dissatisfaction to the Chinese ambassador in Iran. Yesterday, according to the Iranian Presidency Office, during a meeting in the Iranian capital with China’s Vice Prime Minister Hu Chunhua, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called for "compensation" for what emerged during Xi's recent trip to the region.

Over the years, Iran has become a partner of China in opposition to the United States, while Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are long-standing US allies.

Citing the territorial dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates over the Tunb and Abu Musa Islands, Arman Daily noted that China has always relied on “coercive force” to reject the right of the Taiwanese to independence, claiming that "China will have no choice but to accept the demands of the Taiwanese for independence."

Recently, more Iranian newspapers have published articles criticising China, most likely after getting a green light from Iranian authorities, given the regime’s usually harsh censorship of domestic media, further tightened during the current unrest.

For the Chinese, Arman Daily's piece touched, however, a raw nerve. China deems Taiwan a "rebel province" and has never ruled out taking it by force, especially after Xi came to power.

Heir to the Republic of China founded in 1912, the island has been de facto independent since 1949, when Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist forces fled the mainland after losing the civil war the communists.

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