During President Ebrahim Raisi’s three-day visit to Beijing, Iran and China on Tuesday signed 20 cooperation agreements in different fields, his office said.
The agreements are part of the 25-year comprehensive cooperation pact between the two countries signed in 2021, which is the focus of Raisi’s visit, the first state visit by an Iranian president to China in 20 years.
In his talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Raisi said the implementation of the long-term strategic pact was key to “regional security,” his office said in a statement.
He called Iran and China “friends in difficult times,” reaffirming his country’s commitment to expanding relations with Beijing.
For his part, Xi said Beijing will “resolutely maintain its friendship and cooperation with Iran” and “advance the comprehensive strategic partnership,” his office said in a statement.
He expressed willingness to expand cooperation with Iran in the areas of trade, agriculture, industry and infrastructure.
Xi also pledged support to efforts aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which has hit a deadlock over key sticking points and fresh tensions between Iran and the West.
On Monday, before departing for China, Raisi wrote an op-ed in a Chinese state newspaper, condemning “unjust sanctions” and “unilateralism,” referring to them as main causes of crisis and insecurity in the world.
Importantly, the visit comes under the shadow of recent tensions between Tehran and Beijing fueled by a joint statement by China and the Gulf Cooperation Council in December, which angered Iran.
The statement had called on Iran to “ensure the peaceful nature” of its nuclear program, and “respect for the principles of good-neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of states.”
It also backed the UAE’s demand for the “resolution of the dispute” over the three Persian Gulf islands of Greater Tunb, Lesser Tunb, and Abu Musa, riling up Tehran.