Iran-China strategic agreement is not alliance: diplomat

July 29, 2020 - 21:45

TEHRAN - A senior official at the Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the Sino-Iranian strategic cooperation agreement doesn’t mean that the two countries are building an alliance.

“The signing of a strategic cooperation document between Iran and China doesn’t mean that the two countries are allied,” Radio Eghtesad quoted Mohammadreza Forqani, a senior official at the Foreign Ministry, as saying.

“What is currently being discussed is the signing of a document on strategic cooperation between Iran and China. The meaning of the document is that the two countries cooperate with each other in various economic, political, military, security, art, cultural, tourism, technological and scientific sectors,” explained Forqani, who was Iran’s ambassador to Turkmenistan.

The official also said that the signing of the document could be a prelude to expanding Sino-Iranian cooperation in the future and raising it to an alliance if needed.

Iran and China are negotiating over a 25-year strategic cooperation plan that if signed would raise their cooperation to an unprecedented level.

The cabinet of Hassan Rouhani approved the draft of the plan on June 21 and tasked Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with negotiating with the Chinese side 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, Iran’s top diplomat expressed hope that Iran-China 25-year cooperation would be signed soon.

“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,” Zarif said in a tweet, shortly after he held phone talks with his Chinese counterpart.

Some analysts believe that the cooperation plan could be finalized soon.

“This [cooperation] document is very likely to be in the final stages,” Radio Eghtesad quoted Amir Azizi, an Iranian economist and university professor, as saying on Wednesday.