Envoy: Iran firmly supports China’s territorial integrity

February 12, 2022 - 21:35

TEHRAN — In an extensive interview with the Global Times published on Thursday, Iranian Ambassador to China Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh touched on various important points, from a recognition of the Taliban to applauding the "historically glorious and memorable Beijing Winter Olympics."

Keshavarzzadeh also underlined the joint Iran-China efforts for regional and global peace and stability. 

The envoy also said Iran will ensure a steady supply of oil to China and has the prospect of enhancing military cooperation with China within the 25-year strategic partnership.

The ambassador also said Iran and China enjoyed splendid civilizations in ancient times. 

“In contemporary times, both Iran and China have made much effort to preserve their territorial integrity and sovereignty and their citizens' right to self-governance. China and Iran have always been at the forefront against U.S. hegemony, and share similar views and attitudes on many international and regional issues,” the ambassador remarked. 

The Global Times conducted the interview with the ambassador as Iran marked the 43rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. “The 1979 Iranian Revolution was a victory for the Iranian people against outside invasion.” 

He also praised China for its opposition to the unjust U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Responding to a question on the China-Taiwan conflict, the Iranian envoy noted that the China-Iran relationship is “far-reaching” and Iran will not change its policy toward China because of changes in U.S. attitudes, as some countries have done.

“Iran firmly supports China's territorial integrity and its position on Hong Kong and Taiwan-related affairs, which the U.S. has ceaselessly sought to influence,” he affirmed. 

China is an important player in the global community

Moving to the topic of the 25-year strategic cooperation document between Iran and China, Keshavarzzadeh said presently Iran is under no international sanctions aside from U.S. unilateral ones. 

“China as an important player in the international community has repeatedly opposed and disavowed such sanctions. China engages in bilateral and international trade relations based on international norms, rules, and regulations, disregarding unilateral U.S. sanctions,” the diplomat noted.

He then went on to say that oil supply to China by Iran is only a small part of the comprehensive agreement between the two Asian countries.

‘De-dollarization has become a trend’

Iran’s senior diplomat to Beijing also said important countries such as Russia, Brazil, and India are taking steps to use national currencies in their trade as a counterweight to the dollar. 

“In energy-related international trade agreements, de-dollarization has become a trend. Many other countries including Russia, Brazil, and India are engaging in bilateral trade based on their local currencies, aimed at confronting this unilateral system and U.S.-led bullying that weaponizes the dollar and leverages against other nations. Additionally, it enhances China's role in international trade to overtake the U.S. Naturally, other countries will be inspired to engage in yuan-based trade,” Keshavarzzadeh predicted.

He went on to say the United Nations arms embargo on Iran expired on October 18, 2020, as agreed upon in Iran's 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Thus, the ambassador said, Iran will be able to engage in military cooperation with other countries, as predicted in the JCPOA.

The ambassador also pointed to the recent military drills that Iran conducted jointly by China and Russia in the Sea of Oman and the northern Indian Ocean, saying, “Both Iran and China attach great importance to the marine safety. The trilateral ‘Marine Security Belt’ naval exercises jointly executed by China, Iran, and Russia were done in the southern sea of Iran and the Indian Ocean to boost regional and international peace and stability.”

He also said, “To ensure the safety of navigation routes, Iran intends to purchase military equipment from China and Russia.” 

Iran was given membership to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in September 2021.

“The common threats the SCO members face are terrorism, separatism, and extremism, and it is also the common goal of China and Iran to combat these forces, which needs military support. Military cooperation outside the SCO framework is also likely,” he further noted.

Iranian and Chinese military forces have also gotten closer during the COVID-19 pandemic due to mutual support in medical supplies and vaccines, according to Keshavarzzadeh.

U.S. intervention has led to chaos in the region

He then went on to criticize Washington's misguided policies, including its invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. He also pointed to misguided economic policies which led to the 2008 financial crisis, and a raft of other U.S.-orchestrated policies that will undermine its hegemony.

“The U.S. is a superpower, but unfortunately and ironically, most of the regions and projects in which it has intervened have ended up in chaos with serious consequences. For example, its entry into West Asia was followed by two wars, which brought great disaster to the stability of the regional order and local people,” he added.

The envoy went on to say that the Iran-China-Russia alliance is aimed at ensuring regional and international peace and stability, which the U.S. is effectively undermining.

Iran does not agree with all Taliban-led practices in Afghanistan

About a recognition of Taliban by Tehran, Keshavarzzadeh said that Iran as a neighbor shares cultural links and long borders with Afghanistan and supports an inclusive Afghan government that will lead to “national reconciliation, peace, and integrity with all the ethno-political groups and parties fully participatory.” 

“Though we do not support all Taliban-led governmental practice in Afghanistan, we respect Afghanistan's political structure and developmental paths as determined by Afghan people's sovereign decision-making as long as it is an inclusive government,” he added.

The diplomat also said there are now more than 4 million Afghan refugees in Iran. 
“Given cultural similarities, we want to help, not interfere,” he asserted.

According to the envoy, by honoring a non-interference policy and emphasizing Afghanistan's territorial integrity and sovereignty, both Iran and China reaffirm the right of Afghan people to determine their future political and economic path. 

He added that both sides also share similar views on weeding out terrorism in Afghanistan and its manifestations in neighboring countries.

“We are in active communication with China and Russia on this issue. Iran sees China's role in Afghanistan as a constructive one,” Keshavarzzadeh said. 

No one can question Iran’s seriousness in Vienna

On the ongoing negotiations in Vienna intended to lift sanctions on Iran, the diplomat said in 2015 the world witnessed the U.S. illegal withdrawal from the JCOPA, an agreement that was a product of 13 years of negotiations. 

“In addition to the goodwill issue, we are now faced with the problem of not crediting the signature of different governments in that country. Meanwhile, as a huge step toward proliferation, the U.S. founded AUKUS,” he remarked.

Iran remained fully loyal to the JCPOA for a complete year after the U.S. quit the agreement. 

The ambassador said the Islamic Republic did this to give the European signatories to the JCPOA an opportunity to compensate Iran for the U.S. sanctions.

“After the U.S. unlawful withdrawal and the imposition of sanctions, Iran refrained from remedial measures in good faith, and, granting the request of the remaining JCPOA participants and the European Union as the coordinator of the nuclear deal, avoided resorting to the cessation of its commitments under the JCPOA so as to provide the opportunity for other JCPOA participants to compensate for the negative impacts of U.S. withdrawal,” he concluded. 


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