On Saturday, the Chinese and Iranian foreign ministers signed a 25-year cooperation agreement between the two allies in a ceremony held live on state television.
“Our relations with Iran will not be affected by the current situation, but will be permanent and strategic,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as saying by Iranian news agencies.
“Iran decides independently on its relations with other countries and is not like some countries that change their position with a phone call.”
Wang met with President Hassan Rouhani before signing the agreement, which is expected to include Chinese investment in key sectors such as energy and infrastructure.
The agreement is an example of “successful diplomacy”, Rouhani’s adviser Hesameddin Ashena was quoted as saying by Iranian media. “A country’s strength lies in its ability to join coalitions, not to remain isolated.”
Saeed Khatibzadeh, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said the document was a “roadmap” for cooperation in trade, economics and transport, with a “special focus on the two sides’ private sectors.”
China, one of Iran’s largest trading partners and a long-standing ally, agreed in 2016 to increase bilateral trade by more than ten times to $ 600 billion over a decade.
Its Ministry of Trade said on Thursday that Beijing will seek to protect Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and defend the legitimate interests of Sino – Iranian relations.
The United States and the other Western powers that are parties to the deal are at odds with Tehran over which side should return to the agreement, which was abandoned by former US President Donald Trump in 2018.