Amir Abdollahian: Iran-China 25-year partnership agreement goes into effect

Iranian Foreign Minister wrapped up his visit to China with extensive meetings and returned to Tehran on Saturday.

Amir Abdollahian who was leading a high-ranking delegation, held talks with Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

In the meeting, the two foreign ministers discussed a broad range of political, economic, trade, consular, cultural, regional and international issues and explored ways of expanding cooperation over those matters.

Amir Abdollahian congratulated the New Chinese Year and conveyed warm greetings of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to his Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Iranian foreign minister also submitted Raisi’s written message to President Xi. Amir Abdollahian described the letter as an important message at the beginning of the government’s tenure.

The foreign minister reaffirmed Iran’s support for the One China Policy and announced Iran’s readiness to expand all-out ties with China.

He then referred to plans to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Iran, appreciating China for supplying Iran with 110 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine.

Amir Abdollahian also spoke of the Iranian government’s agreement to let China inaugurate a consulate in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas, expressing hope that this will facilitate people-to-people and trade relations between the two countries.

The top Iranian diplomat also outlined the latest state of cooperation between Iran and China in different areas, underlining Tehran’s determination to implement all infrastructure agreements with Beijing.

Expanding ties with neighbors and friendly nations is a foreign policy priority of Iran, Amir Abdollahian said, underscoring the continuation of Tehran’s constructive role in regional developments including protecting and strengthening security of energy transfer.

Iran’s top diplomat also referred to the significance of cultural relations in view of the ancient civilizations of Iran and China, saying Iranian cultural figures’ interest for closer cooperation with China will provide a valuable opportunity to tap the potential for cultural relationship.

For his part, the Chinese foreign minister approved of his Iranian counterpart’s views expounded in his op-ed published in China’s Global Times. Wang said the Iranian foreign minister’s views show the promising horizon in relations between Tehran and Beijing. The top Chinese diplomat underlined his country’s readiness to expand cooperation with Iran in financing, energy, banking and cultural sectors despite the illegal sanctions against the Iranian nation.

Wang announced China’s full support for Iran’s logical stance in face of the bullying policies of the United States regarding the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), saying Beijing’s principled policy is to continue supporting Iran’s position during the JCPOA talks and underscored that the U.S. must redress its mistake of leaving the deal.

The Chinese foreign minister also described the 25-year strategic partnership between Iran and China as highly important and said Tehran and Beijing’s agreement to start implementing the deal is a significant development that will pave the way to fundamentally transform bilateral ties.

The second round of talks was held at the official feast arranged by the Chinese foreign minister for his Iranian counterpart.

During this round of talks, Amir Abdollahian and Wang discussed the latest state of the nuclear deal talks in Vienna as well as developments in West Asia and the Persian Gulf. 

Later, Iran’s chief diplomat expressed his satisfaction over his visit to Beijing on Twitter. 

“At the start of New Year 2022, I am very pleased to visit China on my first official visit as foreign minister. Mr. Wang Yi, China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister, and I reached an important consensus in the beautiful city of Wuxi, Jiangu Province, over a wide variety of topics ranging from the Comprehensive Partnership Program to consultations on the Vienna talks. I hope that ties between the two countries will take a leap into their second 50 years. I also wish for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, which will be held during China’s spring festival, to bring joy and vitality to the world during the coronavirus pandemic,” Amir Abdollahian wrote on January 14.

On the sidelines of his visit, Amir Abdollahian told reporters that the 25-year strategic comprehensive partnership cooperation between the two countries went into effect on Friday, January 14.

He added, “Simultaneously with the talks in China, we had prepared the groundwork for announcing today the day of the start of the implementation of the comprehensive agreement on strategic cooperation between the two countries.”

The 25-year partnership agreement between Iran and China was signed on March 26, 2021, in Tehran. According to the agreement, China will invest $400 billion in Iran over the course of 25 years. 

Accordingly, China will be a regular importer of oil from Iran, although for the time being, despite the U.S. sanctions and pressure, Beijing continues to buy Iranian oil. Another advantage of the 25-year agreement is that it will ultimately increase Iran’s oil and gas production in the country’s three key fields. China has agreed to accelerate the development of phase 11 of the South Pars gas field. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) boosted its stake in the South Pars development project to 50.1 percent from 30 percent when France left Iran due to U.S. sanctions.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir Abdollahian said the detailed discussions were held on the Vienna talks intended to lift the sanctions that the U.S. has imposed on Iran.

He stressed that the Chinese negotiator, along with the Russian, play a positive role in the Vienna talks by supporting Iran’s nuclear rights and lifting of sanctions.

“We hope that we will reach a good agreement in Vienna in a short time,” he said. 

According to the chief diplomat, a good agreement will be in line with the rights and interests of the Iranian people.

Regarding the Vienna talks, Amir Abdollahian stated, “The problem that exists in the West which I explained to the Chinese foreign minister is that both the European troika and

the United States in the ‘non-papers’ that they exchange or the messages that they send through some intermediaries, they make good suggestions in words but offer no practical initiative.”

He pointed to the behavior of Westerners and their statements, noting that they say “we are worried and in hurry”, but their failure to put forward initiatives indicates that there is a conflict in their behavior and remarks.

“We hope to pass this stage and I am here to declare loudly that the Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes reaching a good agreement as soon as possible, but that depends on the West,” he concluded.