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China and Iran call on Afghanistan to end discrimination against women

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for visiting President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi prior to their talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
Photo by Yan Yan/Xinhua via Getty Images

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    China and Iran have called on Afghanistan to end restrictions on women’s work and education. 

    The call came after Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing and the two countries issued a joint statement reaffirming their economic and political agendas last Thursday.

    After taking control of Afghanistan in 2021, the Taliban banned women from universities and girls from school after sixth grade and removed elected female officials.

    According to the Associated Press, the statement read:

    The two sides … called on the Afghan rulers to form an inclusive government in which all ethnic groups and political groups actually participate, and cancel all discriminatory measures against women, ethnic minorities and other religions. 

    The two countries also added that the U.S. and its NATO allies “should be responsible for the current situation in Afghanistan.

    The China-Iran statement appeared to signal a commitment between the two to maintain their strong political and economic powers against what they consider U.S. hegemony. 

    There were calls for peace in the Middle East and denuclearization — amid talks of Iran’s nuclear program and Tehran’s large stockpile of nuclear materials.

    Raisi has previously expressed support for China’s suppression of democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

    “China supports Iran in safeguarding national sovereignty” and “resisting unilateralism and bullying,” Xi said last Tuesday, according to a statement distributed by Chinese state media online.

    During Raisi’s visit to Beijing, the Chinese government reported that Xi and Raisi attended the signing of 20 cooperation agreements. 

    These extend a 25-year strategy agreement signed in 2021 to cooperate in the trade and tourism sectors and toward continuing developments of industries including oil. 

    China is one of Iran’s biggest buyers in oil. However, following U.S.-imposed sanctions, Iran has faced trade and financial struggles.

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