TEHRAN (Iran News) –Iran and China finalize 16 understandings between the two countries to implement their 25-year roadmap for strategic partnership, Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ehsan Khandozi says.
“Executive measures in the field of oil and gas, banking, investment and strategic projects were put on the agenda to be approved in the next meeting of the presidents of the two countries in the new future,” Fars news agency quoted him as saying Tuesday.
The agreements were reached during his meeting which vice premier of the People’s Republic of China Hu Chunhua who is currently visiting the Islamic Republic.
“Given that the political and economic will of the two countries is to improve their capacities despite the international restrictions and sanctions pressures, we has seen a nearly 20% increase in trade and the outlook for 2023 is much higher than which is now,” Khandozi said.
Iran and China have agreed to develop a 25-year roadmap for strategic partnership, with the idea first conceived in the 1990s.
According to economists, it represents “a potentially material shift to the global balance of the oil and gas sector” and could mark a “seismic shift in the global hydrocarbons sector” where no US dollars would be involved in commodity transaction payments.
Meanwhile in meeting with Chunhua, Iran’s First Vice President emphasized the need to respect the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic as an inviolable principle.
Speaking at the Iran-China comprehensive cooperation meeting on Tuesday, Mohammad Mokhber described the relations between the two countries as long-standing and historical.
Tehran-Beijing relations have a high status for the leaders of the two countries, he said.
Mokhber considered the meeting between the presidents of Iran and China in Samarkand as a turning point in the relations between the two countries, appreciating the Chinese president for supporting Iran’s presence in organizations such as Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa).
Iran and China have the same positions in confronting unilateralism, he said, adding that good and constructive negotiations are going on between the two countries regarding various issues.
Referring to Iran’s oil and gas reserves and the vast capacities of Iran in various sectors such as transit, Mokhber said Tehran is ready to expand its cooperation with Beijing in various sectors such as energy, transit, and joint production.
He also pointed to the opening of the Chinese Consulate General in Bandar Abbas, saying that the special economic zones of Qeshm, Chabahar, and Arvand can become areas for joint cooperation between Iranian and Chinese companies.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Mokhber considered preserving and respecting the territorial integrity of the Islamic Republic of Iran as an important issue for Iranian officials and people, saying that it is necessary for all countries to observe this inviolable principle.
Hu Chunhua, for his part, pointed to China’s will to develop comprehensive strategic relations with Iran, saying that China supports the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iran and its fight against foreign interference [in internal affairs].
Accordingly, the two sides should support each other decisively and strengthen their cooperation and coordination in fighting terrorism, the Chinese official said.
Referring to the 25-year joint cooperation program of the two countries, he noted that Beijing is willing to strengthen its cooperation with Tehran so that the process of developing relations between the two countries continues.
Meanwhile yesterday in a meeting with the Chinese deputy prime minister, President Ebrahim Raisi criticized the Chinese president’s stances during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia.
Raisi said, “Some of the positions declared by the Chinese president during his recent visit to [the Persian Gulf] region have caused displeasure for the Iranian nation and government.”
He added that Iran’s serious demand is that China makes up for those stances.
He emphasized the importance of the Chinese delegation’s visit to Iran for the development of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, and also stressed the efforts of the two sides to implement the important agreements reached in the previous meetings of the two nations’ officials.
The Chinese deputy prime minister, for his part, conveyed the warmest greetings from the President of his country to the Iranian president and emphasized China’s resolve to develop relations with strong Iran as a permanent and unalterable strategy of his country.
“China’s resolve to strengthen and deepen relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue no matter what the regional and international developments are,” Chunhua said.
“China has always respected the Islamic Republic of Iran’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and supports Iran’s efforts to secure its basic interests,” the deputy prime minister of China said.
He also presented a report on the results of his meetings with Iranian officials to the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
With the operationalization of tens of billions of dollars worth of joint investment and the development of industrial, energy, transit, and financial and banking cooperation, the two countries are taking a big step towards implementing strategic and development partnerships.
Relations between Iran and China go as far back as the ancient Silk Road, but they are gaining strategic significance because the West’s refusal to work with Iran under the US pressure and its efforts to clip China’s wings and stop its economic and political rise is automatically pushing Tehran and Beijing into an alliance of sorts.
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, American businesses have been prevented from trade with Iran, while their European counterparts have withdrawn amid US threat of sanctions. That has helped Chinese companies move in and fill the void.
As a result, Iran and China have forged a unique partnership which is almost impossible or not easily viable with any other country.
China is still Iran’s biggest oil client despite Washington’s bid to bring Tehran’s exports down to zero.
Iran’s rail sector had become a magnet for rail engineering and rolling stock firms from all over the world before US sanctions in 2018 forced them to withdraw. The pullout left the Chinese with a less contested business terrain.
China’s close involvement in the build-out of Iran’s manufacturing infrastructure is seen entirely in line with its mammoth One Belt, One Road initiative.