The Point: Why are media outlets making China-Iran cooperation sound so scary?

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  • In this week’s Headline Buster, we’ll look at recent media reports on China-Iran cooperation, as news of a potential 25-year pact between the two countries emerges. Although neither side has confirmed the pact, some media outlets have jumped on the news, focusing more on perceived threats than pragmatism. Some articles argue a deal would be more about defying the U.S. than mutually benefiting the two countries. Others suggest Iran is being pushed into China’s arms, against its will. Why are media portraying this long-term partnership as a new menace?

    Prof. He Wenping,
    Senior Research Fellow
    Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

    Bobby Naderi
    Journalist, columnist and political commentator

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    In This Story: Iran

    Iran, also called Persia, officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. Its central location in Eurasia and proximity to the Strait of Hormuz give it significant geostrategic importance. Tehran is the capital and largest city.

    Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, beginning with the formation of the Elamite kingdoms in the fourth millennium BC. The Iranian Revolution established the current Islamic Republic in 1979.

    Iran’s political system combines elements of a presidential democracy and an Islamic theocracy. Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, OIC, and OPEC. It is a major regional and middle power and has large reserves of fossil fuels — including the world’s largest natural gas supply and the third largest proven oil reserves.

    The country’s rich cultural legacy is reflected in part by its 22 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Historically a multi-ethnic country, Iran remains a pluralistic society comprising numerous ethnic, linguistic, and religious groups, the largest being Persians, Azeris, Kurds, Mazandaranis and Lurs.

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