‘Very bright future’ for Sino-Iran relations: ambassador

January 23, 2016 - 0:0

TEHRAN - President Xi Jinping of China is having his last stop in Tehran as he is wrapping up the Middle East tour which included trips to Riyadh and Cairo, as well.

The tour could not have come at a more opportune moment as the beleaguered Middle East has been in distress like no time before.
Syrians and Iraqis have been having heavy causalities on the battleground with well-heeled terrorist groups, petro-dollars have led to more air raids on Yemen, and Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to be at loggerheads over numerous issues.
However, amid all this disappointment, President Xi’ visit to the serene Tehran after the implementation of the nuclear pact between Iran and the 5+1 group seems to be a turning point in Sino-Iran relations.
The event can open a new chapter in bilateral ties between the two countries as emphasized by Pang Sen, the Chinese ambassador to Tehran. Prior to President Xi’s visit to Iran, the Tehran Times talked face-to-face with Pang Sen to hear more about the importance of the event. In what follows, a transcript of the interview has been given.
Tehran Times: Would the visit of President Xi Jinping and his entourage to Tehran lead to transfer of new technologies and investment to Iran, if so, in what areas?
Ambassador: I imagine a very bright future for the two countries’ cooperation in the fields of science and technology. During President Xi Jinping’s visit, I expect we will sign agreements or memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to enhance cooperation between the two countries. Possible cooperation areas are solar energy, because we cannot depend on fossil fuel all the time. Also, we can cooperate with Iran in other areas such as fast-speed train and infrastructure, including irrigation systems which use less water. I cannot list all possible areas but certainly I feel scientific and technical institutions of the two countries can get in close contacts with one another and these MOUs will specify areas that we can work on them together.
Tehran Times: In the new atmosphere, which has been created with the signing of the nuclear deal, which countries are China’s main competitors in the Iranian market?
Ambassador: I think that the signing of the nuclear agreement will make it possible for more countries to come to Iran for investment and cooperation purposes. Given this, Iran has more choices in the future. That’s a good thing because different companies have different advantages and disadvantages. For example, Japanese ones, Korean ones, and European ones, they have their own strong points while Chinese firms have also their own strong points. I think on the one hand we compete one another, and on the other hand, we consider the possibility of tripartite cooperation with rivals. That will bring advantage and benefits to all of us. So, I don’t see more options as a threat as they provide opportunities for us, too.
Tehran Times: Has there been a change in Sino-Iran relations during your tenure as China’s ambassador to Iran?
Ambassador: I think over the past two years since new governments have taken office in both countries, bilateral relations between the two countries have witnessed further development. The two countries’ officials have exchanged ideas and views on various major bilateral and international issues. Our economic cooperation has seen rapid development. In 2014, the trade volume between the two countries surpassed $50 dollars compared to the year 1994. After 20 years, the trade volume has grown more than one hundred times. So, I am very happy to see the smooth development in the relations in all areas.
Tehran Times: Will the visit of President Xi create a new climate for cooperation in nuclear technology with Iran?
Ambassador: The signing of the nuclear agreement between Iran and 5+1 countries has paved the way for Iran’s cooperation with the world, including nuclear cooperation because as an NPT member state, Iran is entitled to enjoy the right to benefit from the peaceful use of nuclear energy. We can cooperate in the production of isotopes for medical purposes. We can also work together on seawater desalination as well as joint construction of nuclear power plants.


After 20 years, the trade volume has grown more than one hundred times