Zarif to visit China soon to discuss long-term agreement

September 23, 2020 - 20:3

TEHRAN –Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will pay a visit to China “in near future” to discuss a long-term agreement between Iran and China, according to Mahmoud Vaezi, the Iranian president's chief of staff.

The cabinet of Hassan Rouhani approved the draft of a 25-year comprehensive cooperation plan between Iran and China on June 21 and tasked Zarif with negotiating with China over the plan in order to finalize it. Three days later, the foreign minister held talks by phone with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

During the talks, the chief Iranian diplomat expressed hope that the 25-year partnership would be signed soon.

“Foreign Minister Zarif then highlighted the strategic comprehensive relations between the two countries, expressing hope that the document on comprehensive cooperation would be soon signed by the two sides,” the Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Writing on his Twitter page in Chinese after the phone call, Zarif also said, “On the eve of the Dragon Boat Festival in China, I am very pleased to hold a video conference meeting with Wang Yi, State Councilor and foreign minister of China. We agreed on deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, promoting the 25-year bilateral cooperation plan, and strengthening mutual support in international affairs.”

The partnership plan, officially known as “Comprehensive Cooperation Plan between the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran,” is still under negotiation.
 
Speaking on the sidelines of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Vaezi said, “The documents of 25-year relations between Iran and China is very important. Iran-China relations have been expanded and deepened in various political and economic sectors. This document will make it possible for us to purposefully draw plans for the activities of various institutions of the country.”

The president's chief of staff pointed out that the 25-year agreement would affect the Iran-China relations as well as regional issues.

“We have held discussions in the cabinet and in other places in this regard and we hope that this document would be finalized during the Rouhani government,” Vaezi was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Vaezi also said the Iranian foreign minister will visit China to negotiate over some issues, but he didn’t disclose the date of the visit.

“The foreign minister will travel to China in the near future to discuss some issues in person. This trip is a great opportunity and an economic team will be accompanying him. We hope these issues will be finalized,” the presidential chief of staff noted.

Some details of the 25-year partnership have been leaked to the press. According to the leaks, China will invest a whopping $400 billion in various Iranian sectors including oil and gas. In exchange, Iran will ensure steady energy supplies to China for a period of 25 years at a discounted rate.

In a cabinet meeting on June 21, Rouhani elaborated on the strategic partnership between Iran and China, saying that the agreement is a positive step towards increasing the importance of global energy and sustainable development of oil and gas resources, as well as renewable energy and joint investment in free zones.

“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 in June.

SM/PA

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