Xi vows China’s ‘unswerving’ support for Iran
Beijing, Feb 14 (EFE).- Chinese president Xi Jinping on Tuesday expressed his country’s unwavering commitment to cooperation with Iran regardless of regional and international developments.
His remarks came as Ebrahim Raisi, the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, embarked on a state visit to the Asian giant.
“No matter how the international and regional situation changes, China will unswervingly maintain its friendship and cooperation with Iran and advance China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership,” Xi was quoted as saying by Chinese state media.
He added that China was ready to continue its efforts in “promoting peace and regional stability” and deepen its ties with Iran in the field of trade, agriculture, industry and infrastructure, according to a statement published by state news channel CCTV.
China would also continue “constructively participate” in the negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal while supporting Iran’s “legitimate rights and interests,” the statement added.
Raisi invited Chinese companies to invest in Iran and hoped that more tourists would visit the nation, CCTV reported.
The two heads of state are due to sign a series of bilateral agreements.
Raisi was joined on his state visit – the first to China by an Iranian president in 20 years – by high-ranking officials including the ministers of petroleum, economy and trade and the head of Iran’s central bank.
The state visit is due to last for three days.
One of the issues topping the agenda during the trip will be the 25-year economic cooperation agreement signed by Tehran and Beijing in 2021, which involved plans for huge Chinese investments in Iranian energy and infrastructure in exchange for petrol and gas supplies.
So far there have been few advances in the deal. In the last 15 months, Russia surpassed China as the leading foreign investor in Iran, forking out a total of $2.7 billion.
However, China is Iran’s main trading partner, exporting $12.6 billion worth of goods in the past 10 months and importing to the value of $12.7 billion, according to Iranian customs data.
Beijing has repeatedly spoken out against the United States-led international sanctions on Iran and in favor of the 2015 nuclear deal, which it signed.
The US, which had spear-headed the historic accord, abandoned the deal under Donald Trump in 2018. EFE