Status: 03/27/2021 1:09 p.m.
Iran and China want to cooperate closely strategically over the next 25 years. The foreign ministers signed a corresponding agreement. It marks a clear convergence between the two major US rivals.
Iran and China have signed a 25-year cooperation agreement. “Our relations with Iran are not affected by the current situation, but are permanent and strategic,” Iranian news agencies quoted Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi as saying. In contrast to other states, Iran “does not change its relations with other countries with a phone call”.
A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry called the document a plan for trade, business and transport cooperation “with a special focus on the private sector of both sides”. Tehran was of the opinion that the agreement could “very effectively contribute to deepening Sino-Iranian relations”.
Strengthening bilateral relations
In 2016, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Iranian colleague Hassan Ruhani decided to strengthen bilateral relations between their countries and agreed, among other things, to intensify cooperation in the areas of transport, ports, energy, industry and services. Bilateral trade was then to be increased to $ 600 billion over ten years.
The spiritual leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, described the cooperation with China as “right and sensible” at the time. Last year, however, the planned cooperation sparked controversy in the Iranian parliament after ex-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the government of negotiating a “new 25-year agreement with a foreign country” without informing the Iranian people .
Most important trading partner of Iran
Although Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Jawad Zarif assured that the planned cooperation agreement contained “no secret” agreements and that the public would be informed of its exact content as soon as the negotiations were concluded, only a few details of the agreement have been communicated to date.
For China, the agreement with Tehran is part of its ambitious “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which ties in with the historic trade routes of the Silk Road. China is already Iran’s most important trading partner. Before the US unilaterally withdrew from the international nuclear agreement with Iran under then-President Donald Trump in 2018 and imposed new sanctions on the country, China was the world’s largest buyer of Iranian oil.