TEHRAN -- Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Saturday called for expansion of bilateral relations between Iran and China as two independent countries that oppose unilateralism and interference in internal affairs of other countries.
Raisi, in a message to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, extended his good wishes to the Chinese president and people on the National Day of the People’s Republic of China, saying Tehran is ready to strengthen its bilateral and multilateral cooperation with Beijing.
Saturday marked the 73rd Anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
“As two independent countries that oppose unilateralism and interference in the internal affairs of other countries, Iran and China share many common grounds for all-out expansion of their relations,” he said.
Raisi underlined that the world is facing challenges today which stand in need of cooperation of independent countries and global solutions.
He said the Islamic Republic welcomes the Chinese president’s global development and global security initiatives as ideas aimed at promoting the collective interests of nations, improving their well-being, and strengthening global peace and stability.
“I would like to offer my sincerest congratulations to Your Excellency and the great nation of China on the National Day and the 72nd anniversary of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.”
“Undoubtedly, the serious will of the two sides to implement the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership draws a clear perspective for strengthening ties and realizing the common goals and interests of the two countries,” the Iranian president maintained.
“Therefore, I would like to underscore the Islamic Republic of Iran’s readiness to strengthen as much as possible full-scale cooperation with the People’s Republic of China in the form of bilateral mechanisms and within the framework of multilateral arrangements and institutions,” he added.
Back in March 2021, Iran and China signed a 25-year comprehensive strategic partnership deal to strengthen their long-standing economic and political alliance. The partnership was first announced in 2016, when Xi visited Iran to strengthen Tehran-Beijing ties. It aims to boost economic cooperation between the two countries and paves the way for Iran’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative, a massive infrastructure project stretching from East Asia to Europe.
Iran and China have enjoyed close ties in recent years, particularly after the United States reinstated sanctions on the Iranian economy in 2018 after unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement.
Reacting to a new round of U.S. sanctions against Iran, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday that Beijing has always been firmly opposed to illegal, unjustifiable and unilateral sanctions by the U.S.
“The international community, including China, has conducted normal cooperation with Iran within the framework of international law,” Mao said.
“This is reasonable and lawful without harm done to any third party, and deserves to be respected and protected. The US side needs to abandon the wrong practice of resorting to sanctions at every turn and do more things that are conducive to negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA,” she added, making a reference to talks in Vienna to revive the U.S.-abandoned Iran nuclear deal.
The remarks came a day after the U.S. imposed sanctions on companies over involvement in Iran’s petrochemical and petroleum trade, including five based in China.
In a statement on Thursday, the U.S. State Department announced sanctions against Zhonggu Storage, Transportation Co. Ltd., and WS Shipping Co. Ltd., which it said were involved in Iran’s crude oil trade.
The U.S. has increasingly targeted Chinese companies over cooperation with Iran as the prospects of reviving the JCPOA have dimmed due to Washington’s refusal to fully honor the deal.