TEHRAN – The recent visit by Iran’s chief diplomat to China has accelerated the process of moving forward with a comprehensive strategic partnership plan between Tehran and Beijing, Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh, the Iranian ambassador to Beijing, said.
During his two-day visit to China, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi and discussed a variety of issues including the 25-year partnership plan. The foreign minister’s visit began on October 9 when he arrived in the southern Chinese province of Yunnan. It was his first visit to China after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The first visit by Dr. Zarif to China after [the outbreak of] coronavirus should be seen as the timely accelerator of the comprehensive strategic partnership which had a deep impact on the China public opinion,” Keshavarzzadeh said in a tweet on Friday, adding that the visit was not surprising and it did not pursue a new agenda.
Earlier on October 10, the ambassador had said that Zarif and he held “detailed and good negotiations” with their Chinese counterparts.
Zarif also praised the outcome of his talks with China, saying he held “fruitful talks” with his Chinese “friend Wang Yi.”
Following a meeting with Wang, Zarif tweeted, “Fruitful talks in beautiful Tengchong with my friend Wang Yi on Iran-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.” He added that Iran and China “rejected U.S. unilateralism, and the U.S. attempts to create a unipolar world.”
The issue of the comprehensive strategic partnership between Iran and China was one of the main issues that was discussed during Zarif’s visit. The two countries are negotiating over finalizing a long term partnership plan that, if finalized, would raise the economic cooperation between the two sides to an unprecedented level.
The draft of the 25-year plan, officially known as “Comprehensive Cooperation Plan between the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran” was approved by the cabinet of Hassan Rouhani on June 21. On the same day, Zarif was asked to continue talking with China in order to finalize the plan. Since then, the foreign minister has held talks with Chinese officials on many occasions. President Rouhani has also recently sent a message to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, praising the partnership plan.
“The comprehensive strategic partnership of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China, which stems from common cultural grounds, long-term historical relations and the two countries’ view of international developments and their determination to fight unilateralism, has provided a great groundwork for developing bilateral relations in various fields,” said Rouhani in the message, which was sent on the 71st anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.
On the other hand, China also expressed willingness to deepen its strategic partnership with Iran.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said on October 9 that Beijing wants to work with Iran.
Speaking at a regular press conference, she said, “During Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif’s upcoming visit to China, he will have talks with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. We want to work with Iran to deepen our bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.”