Iran-China Cooperation

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Iran and China have signed a long-gestating 25-year cooperation accord as both countries remain under Unites States sanctions. The agreement was signed in Tehran  by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Wang, who touched down in Tehran for a two-day visit as part of his Middle East trip, also met with President Hassan Rouhani, and Ali Larijani, a representative of the Supreme Leader Ali Hosseini Khamenei who is said to have been the point person on the 25-year accord. The agreement is said to have been in the works since Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran in 2016, also agreeing to increase bilateral trade more than 10-fold to $600bn in the next decade. No details of the agreement have yet to be officially published, but it is expected to be a sweeping “strategic accord” that includes significant Chinese investments in Iran’s key sectors such as energy and infrastructure, in addition to military cooperation. It comes as both Iran and China are under different levels of sanctions imposed by the US. After unilaterally abandoning Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers that also included China – former US President Donald Trump imposed harsh sanctions on Iran that have blacklisted its entire financial system. While saying he wants to restore the deal, President Joe Biden has so far refused to lift any sanctions, saying Iran must first act to fulfil commitments it scaled back in response to US sanctions. China and Russia have called on the US to restore the deal by lifting sanctions, while traders and analysts say Iran’s oil exports to China have significantly increased in March despite US warnings. This new deal of cooperation between Iran and China is also an indication that the countries under sanctions by US are fighting together to build relations based on mutual interests. It is yet to reveal that what would be the response by Biden’s government on this particular matter.

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