Iranian president Raisi to meet Xi Jinping in China

Beijing, Feb 12 (EFE).- Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi will make a state visit to China next week for a two-day trip following an invitation from his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, China’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.

Raisi will visit the Asian nation between February 14 and 16, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said. No further details about the visit were given.

Xi and Raisi met in September 2022 in Samarkand (Uzbekistan) at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) where Iran penned a memorandum for its accession to the organization, which includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

At the summit, Xi said China was willing to “strengthen cooperation” with Iran within the framework of the SCO and conveyed his support to Iran “in safeguarding its national sovereignty and national dignity.”

Xi said China would continue to play “a constructive role” to relaunch the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that was reached in 2015 on the Iranian nuclear program, and said Beijing would support Iran to “safeguard its legitimate rights and interests”.

“We are ready to increase our communication and coordination with Iran to achieve new progress in our bilateral relations,” the Chinese leader said.

Raisi said Iran was “firmly committed to strengthening cooperation” with China and “intensifying exchanges at various levels to further grow the Iran-China comprehensive strategic partnership.”

China and Iran signed a 25-year economic cooperation agreement in 2021 to boost Chinese investments in the Iranian energy and infrastructure sectors.

Tehran, a major hydrocarbon producer that has been hard hit by United States sanctions, agreed to provide Beijing with a stable supply of oil and gas at competitive prices.

The China-Iran partnership first started to take shape during Xi’s visit to Tehran in January 2016, where 17 cooperation agreements were signed and a plan to boost trade to $600 billion in a decade was mapped out.

In recent years, Beijing has repeatedly expressed its opposition to US sanctions on Iran and has backed resuming talks to reinstate the Iranian nuclear deal, which Washington abandoned in 2018. EFE


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