China, Iran sign 25-year economic cooperation agreement

The Chinese and Iranian chancellors signed a 25-year cooperation agreement in a ceremony broadcast live on Iranian national television on Saturday. Both countries are currently sanctioned by the United States.

“Our relations with Iran will not be affected by the current situation, but they will be permanent and strategic,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said.

The deal is expected to include Chinese investments in Iran’s energy and infrastructure sectors. According to the spokesman for the country’s Foreign Ministry, Saeed Khatibzadeh, the document – details of which have not yet been released – “is a comprehensive roadmap with political clauses and which cover trade issues, economic cooperation and transport ”, with an emphasis on private initiative.

In 2016, China, Iran’s first trading partner and longtime ally, agreed to increase bilateral trade more than 10 times, to $ 600 billion, or about R $ 3.4 trillion, over the course of the next decade.

Iran is tightening its stance vis-à-vis the United States and European countries which signed Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2015.

US President Joe Biden has sought to resume negotiations with Iran over the deal, abandoned by former President Donald Trump in 2018, though tough economic sanctions remain in place against the Persian country. Tehran insists that measures be suspended before resuming dialogue.

The United States and other Western powers that joined the 2015 deal appear to disagree with Tehran on which side should return to the pact first, making it unlikely that US sanctions, which damage Iran’s economy. , can be lifted quickly.

China’s Commerce Ministry said on Thursday that Beijing will make efforts to safeguard the nuclear deal with Iran and defend the legitimate interests of Sino-Iranian relations.

China made the comments after Reuters reported that Iran had “indirectly” transferred record volumes of oil to China in recent months, marked as supplies from other countries, even though Chinese customs data show that no Iranian oil was imported in the first two months. month of this year.

However, despite U.S. sanctions, Iran’s oil exports rose again in January, following an increase in the fourth quarter of last year, which may be a sign that the end of the Trump administration is changing the buyer behavior.

Since the end of 2018, there has been a sharp drop in Iranian exports to China and other Asian customers.

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