China should play a more active role in fighting the Islamic State group, a senior figure in a body that advises Iran's supreme leader said Thursday, according to the country's Fars news agency. China relies on the Middle East for oil supplies, but tends to leave diplomacy there to the other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: France, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S.
"China can significantly help the regional peace and stability by becoming more active in the fight against the Islamic State," said Mohsen Rezaei, who has the title of secretary of the Expediency Council, after meeting members of a Chinese delegation in Tehran.
China has called for greater coordination after attacks in Mali and Paris and the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, but has long said there is no military solution in Syria, with state media criticizing the West and Russia for airstrikes.
But this month a Chinese-language song purportedly released by the militant group formerly known as either ISIL or ISIS put Chinese officials on alert that they need closer global cooperation against Islamist militancy.
Beijing warns that some members of the Muslim Uighur ethnic group, from the western region of Xinjiang, have joined the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
Rezaei said if China plays a more-significant role in the fight against the Islamic State group, "Iran can fight against Islamic extremism in Central Asia through cultural activities and interaction with Chinese Muslim community."
Shiite power Iran has ramped up its military presence in Iraq and Syria, where the Islamic State group controls large areas. The Sunni Islamist group views Shiites as heretics.
Iran is widely credited for convincing Russia to launch its military intervention in Syria and join the fight against the Islamic State.