Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

The agreement was signed last year and includes economic, military and security cooperation.

Tehran, Iran A 25-year comprehensive co-operation agreement signed between Iran and China last year has now entered the implementation stage, according to Iran’s foreign minister.

Hossein Amirabdollahian, in his first visit to China as foreign minister, announced the news late Friday after a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

“While preparing for the visit to China, we made preparations to mark today as the start of the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement between the two countries,” Amirabdollahian said, but he did not announce any specific projects or agreements to the opportunity.

Signed in Tehran in March 2021 when former President Hassan Rouhani was in office, the “strategic agreement” involves economic, military, and security cooperation, even if both countries are subject to different levels of US sanctions.

Among other things, China has bought Iranian oil – at a discount – in defiance of sanctions over the past three years. None of the countries disclose exact details.

During his visit, Amirabdollahian also delivered a letter by President Ebrahim Raisi to President Xi Jinping, which he said contained an “important message” for Raisi’s administration.

He did not elaborate on the content, but the Raisi administration has repeatedly emphasized an “Asia-centered” foreign policy that includes China as a key factor.

Amirabdollahian’s visit came amid a spate of meetings in Wuxi, Jiangsu. The foreign minister landed there shortly after China’s Yi held talks with the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the foreign ministers of four of its member states – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain – in addition to the Turkish Foreign Minister.

Vienna nuclear talks

Ongoing talks in Vienna aimed at recovery Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers was also high on the agenda during the Iranian foreign minister’s visit.

After the meeting, Amirabollahian told reporters that Iran was ready to reach an agreement in the Austrian capital within a short time, an achievement that would be made possible with the support of China and Russia.

A reading of the meeting, published by Iran’s Foreign Ministry, quoted Wang Yi as saying China supported Iran’s “logical” position in the Viennese talks.

“We hope that the Western parties will also continue the negotiations in Vienna with a realistic view aimed at reaching an agreement that will also safeguard the interests of the Iranian people,” he said.

The foreign minister criticized the Western parties – the US, France, Germany and the United Kingdom – for what he called their “lack of initiative” in the talks.

“They say we are concerned and we are in a hurry, but their lack of practical initiative shows there is a contrast between their rhetoric and actions,” he said.

The eighth – and presumably last – round of intensive talks has continued in Vienna since last month, as Western parties warn only weeks left reach an agreement as a result of Iran’s nuclear progress.

The heads of the negotiating delegations agreed on Friday to return to their capitals for two days for consultations, but the talks are not on pause as the expert working groups continue to hold sessions.

The US has imposed its strict sanctions on Iran since 2018 when it unilaterally abandoned the nuclear deal. Iran has since sharpened its nuclear program significantly, but says it is strictly peaceful.

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