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Iran, China sign “25-year strategic cooperation pact”

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                Iran and China signed on Saturday in Tehran an agreement of "strategic and commercial cooperation over twenty-five years".  Under discussion for several years, the latter notably provides for reciprocal investments in the various fields, in particular transport, ports, energy, industry and services ".

                                    <p>It is the culmination of several years of discussion.  Iran and China on Saturday March 27 in Tehran concluded a twenty-five-year strategic and commercial cooperation agreement.

This “twenty-five-year strategic cooperation pact”, the details of which have yet to be revealed, was signed by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his visiting Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. in Tehran, noted an AFP journalist.

The signing of this pact illustrates the priority given to relations with “the East” – that is to say for Iran, states such as China, the two Koreas, India, Japan and Russia – in accordance with to the inflection given by Ali Khamenei in 2018, breaking with one of the most popular slogans of the Iranian revolution of 1979: “Neither West nor East, Islamic Republic.”

In discussion since 2016

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China is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s largest trading partner and was a major buyer of Iranian crude before the reinstatement of US sanctions on Iran’s energy sector in 2018, which brought down Tehran’s oil exports .

According to Iranian Foreign Affairs, the agreement signed on Saturday is a “complete road map”, including “political, strategic and economic clauses” for “twenty-five years of cooperation” between Iran and China. For Beijing, it is part of its vast infrastructure project launched with more than 130 countries.

The genesis of the Iranian-Chinese pact dates back to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Tehran in January 2016. Tehran and Beijing then committed in a joint statement “to conduct negotiations for the signing of an extended cooperation agreement on twenty-five years “and” to cooperate and have reciprocal investments in the various fields, in particular transport, ports, energy, industry and services “.

>> To (re) read on France 24: Iran and China forge a “strategic partnership”

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“The Iranian government and people are seeking, as they always have done, to expand their relations with independent and reliable countries such as China,” Ali Khamenei said on occasion, deeming “quite correct and wise. “the Sino-Iranian project, also presented as a” comprehensive strategic partnership “.

Climate of mistrust between Tehran and the West

Tehran’s rapprochement with Beijing comes in a climate of increased mistrust of the Islamic Republic vis-à-vis the West and in a period of tension between Washington on the one hand, and Tehran and Beijing on the other.

The unilateral denunciation by Washington in 2018 of the international Iranian nuclear agreement and the inability of the Europeans to help the Islamic Republic bypass the American sanctions reinstated that year have further convinced the Iranian authorities that the West does not. is not a “trustworthy” partner, in the words of Ali Khamenei.

In July 2020, a controversy had stirred Iranian social networks after remarks made by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to denounce the negotiations under way, according to him, for “a new 25-year agreement with a foreign country”, without the knowledge of the people.

Heckled during an intervention in Parliament, Mohammad Javad Zarif then retorted that there was “nothing secret” in the ongoing discussions with Beijing, promising that the nation would be informed “when an agreement will be reached.[it] concluded “.

In a column published by the official Irna agency, Mohammad Kéchavarzadeh, Iranian ambassador to China, notes that Beijing has been “Iran’s trade partner for more than ten years”. However, he notes, “the imposition of severe sanctions” from Washington and “restrictions linked to the coronavirus have considerably reduced trade between the two countries.”

Quoted Friday by the Ilna agency, the head of the Sino-Iranian chamber of commerce in Tehran, Majid-Réza Hariri, indicated that the volume of trade between Beijing and Tehran had fallen to around “16 billion dollars” in 2020, against “51.8 billion dollars” in 2014.


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