Iran top diplomat to visit China on Friday: state media

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is set to visit China on Friday for talks on "regional and international issues", state news agency IRNA reported.

Coming amid soaring tensions between Washington and Tehran, the visit would be an opportunity to discuss the 2015 nuclear deal from which the United States unilaterally withdrew a year ago, IRNA said.

The China trip comes after Zarif visited Turkmenistan, India and Japan in the past week.

China is one of the five remaining signatories to the Iran nuclear deal, in addition to Britain, France, Germany and Russia. It is also a major importer of Iranian crude oil.

In Tokyo, Zarif accused the United States of an "unacceptable" escalation of tensions and said Tehran was showing "maximum restraint" despite Washington's withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

Tensions were already high after President Donald Trump walked away from the accord in May 2018, but they have ratcheted up recently with the US deploying an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf over alleged threats from Iran.