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Iran-China Alliance Not Considered Threat to Nuclear Talks

FILE - China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei (L) gives a speech with the guests of the signing ceremony of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Oct. 24, 2014.

The U.S. State Department says it does not believe Iran’s alliance with a new multi-billion-dollar, China-led development bank will destabilize the ongoing Iran nuclear talks.

Iran is one of about 35 countries that have been accepted as founding members of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB.

China is also part of the so-called P5 + 1, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany, which have been in intense talks with Iran to curb suspect parts of its nuclear program in exchange for relief from international sanctions. The other countries in the talks are France, Britain, Russia and the United States.

“We do not see such a risk,” said State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke.

Rathke said the U.S. expects the P5 + 1 to remain united in its goal of keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons “regardless of other outside events.”

Amy Studdart, a policy economy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Iran and China had good relations before the start of the nuclear talks.

“The formalizing of the relationship is a new dynamic but I do not think it changes the amount of leverage that the parties have in the talks,” she said.

China launched the development bank last year. When fully operational, the lending institution’s focus will be on growing Asian sectors that include energy, telecommunications, agriculture and sanitation.

Studdart said founding member countries would have a role in shaping the charter and rules of the institution, while countries that joined later were unlikely to have that kind of influence.

The United States has held off joining the AIIB although its key European allies - and Iran nuclear negotiating partners, Britain, France and Germany - have joined.

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