Zarif says Iran won’t give an inch of its soil to China in the 25-year partnership

July 17, 2020 - 21:52

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Iran will not give even a “handspan of its soil” to China within the framework of the 25-year partnership which has not yet been finalized.

“We have not given and will not give a [single square] meter of [our] land or the exclusive right to take advantage of a handspan of Iran’s soil to China or any other country,” Zarif told ICANA in an interview published on Thursday.

He added, “We are at the stage of negotiations and this stage requires permission from the government but the Foreign Ministry has passed this stage.”

“When we reach the stage of signing the agreement, we have to present it to Majlis if there is any legal commitment in it,” the foreign minister said, noting that nothing will be hidden from the parliament.

Zarif said on July 5 that there is no “hidden issue” in the long-term comprehensive agreement between Iran and China.

“The agreement was discussed in the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Leader of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei]. We announced the issue to the people. In last year’s visit, I took this agreement to China and it was announced. When China responded to our draft, we announced it and when China accepted negotiation with us, the issue was announced,” Zarif told an open session of the parliament.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei said on June 23 that Iran and China have drafted a 25-year plan for comprehensive cooperation which proves failure of the plots to isolate the Islamic Republic.

“This plan proves failure of the United States’ policies to isolate Iran, sever Iran’s relations with the international community and also to harm Iran’s will to expand relations with other countries,” Rabiei said during a press conference.

He said that the 25-year plan is based on a win-win approach which “heralds long term cooperation”.

“Recognizing cultural commonalities, encouraging multilateralism, supporting equal rights of the nations and insisting on domestic development are parts of this plan,” the government spokesman explained.

In a meeting on June 21, the Iranian cabinet of ministers approved the final draft of the 25-year comprehensive cooperation with China.

President Hassan Rouhani said the strategic partnership is based on a win-win approach.

“This cooperation is a ground for Iran and China’s participation in basic projects and development of  infrastructure, including the large ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, and an opportunity to attract investment in various economic fields, including industry, tourism, information technology and communication,” the presidential website quoted Rouhani as saying.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on June 29 that the cooperation plan has not been finalized yet.

However, he said, the content of this “agreement will be published once it is finalized.”

Nikki Haley, Donald Trump’s former ambassador to the United Nations, has expressed frustration over the impending partnership between Iran and China.

“The partnership ... would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects,” Haley said.

The New York Times also recently ran an article, confirming that Iran and China were nearing conclusion of the roadmap in defiance of the U.S., saying the document foresees “a sweeping economic and security partnership.”

NA/PA

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