“The Islamic Republic of Iran and China are standing in a united front,” claimed Iran’s ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi last week, “to confront U.S. unilateralism and hegemony in the field of IT.” For confront read “offensive actions,” and for IT read “cyber.”
Jahromi followed this with similar comments in Beijing a few days later, when he met his opposite number Miao Wei. The ministers discussed “common challenges” in the face of “U.S. unilateralism,” of which Jahromi said, “we are facing similar challenges, so we need to find common solutions.” The Iranian minister accused the U.S. of “spreading its hegemony on new strategic technologies such as artificial intelligence,” and criticized Washington’s actions against Huawei and ZTE.
Miao Wei reportedly stressed that cooperation between the two countries would help tackle “such threats and pressures.”
According to Iran’s state media, the ministers “discussed ways to boost cooperation in the field of information technology and countering threats in cyberspace—and agreed to establish a joint workgroup to survey and counter those threats.”
In May, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told the media after meeting his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, that “China is strongly opposed to U.S. unilateral sanctions and its prejudgments. China understands Iran’s conditions and concerns and safeguards its legitimate interests.”
Although some of the language can be interpreted as referencing mainstream, non-military IT interests, the context is entirely cybersecurity related and comes as tensions continue to intensify and the cyber domain becomes ever more important.
Cyber Warfare Threat Rises As Iran And China Agree ‘United Front’ Against U.S.