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News ID: 98878
Publish Date : 14 January 2022 - 21:44
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Iran’s Foreign Minister in Beijing

BEIJING (Dispatches) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian is in Beijing to meet with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, the first visit to China by a member of Iran’s cabinet since new President Ebrahim Raisi took charge in August.
After arriving in the country, Amir-Abdollahian noted that the pace of the expansion of bilateral ties has been accelerating under the Raisi administration.
He cited “very good progress” in China-Iranian talks on expansion of bilateral relations.
According to the Iranian minister, “strategic issues are on the agenda of the two countries, and these issues have created a new atmosphere in the correspondence between the presidents of the two countries”.
Iran’s top diplomat was set to discuss the 25-year security and economic cooperation agreement signed between the two countries in March. The $400 billion deal would see China invest in several sectors of Iran’s economy, from finance to infrastructure.
With draconian sanctions continuing to deter Iran’s economy, the benefits to Tehran of a deeper relationship with its number one trading partner are obvious.
Given Iran’s geopolitical position outside the U.S sphere of influence, the relationship makes sense for Chinese leaders who know they can engage with a powerful partner, Scott W. Harold, an expert on Chinese foreign policy at the Rand Corporation, told the United States’ leading Foreign Policy magazine.
Amir-Abdollahian met his Chinese counterpart on Friday to discuss the economic and security cooperation agreement, together with other matters, according to his ministry. Implementation of the 25-year deal to boost trade and talks in Vienna, of which China is a part, is on the agenda, an Iranian official said.
Last year, China imported an average of at least 590,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran, the highest level since sanctions were reinstated, according to Paris-based commodity data provider Kpler.
Also this week, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said President Raisi will visit Russia soon. The two countries are expected to sign a 20-year cooperation agreement to boost commercial and military ties during the visit, he added.
Iran is also looking to strike deals with a number of countries in Asia and elsewhere to swap its oil and gas for the products it needs, which Iranian officials say would allow it to bypass U.S. sanctions.
Last month, Iran signed an agreement with Sri Lanka under which the South Asian country will pay

taxes on oil imports to Iran through the export of tea and other commodities. In November, Iran signed a similar deal with Pakistan in exchange for gas for rice. Iranian officials say they are also in talks with Turkish companies to build houses in the Persian Gulf country in exchange for oil and gas.
In contrast to his predecessor Hassan Rouhani, President Raisi said he was eager to build ties outside the West and was watching countries like China and Russia as more permanent partners.
“Mr. Raisi’s administration has a particular focus on the East,” said Major General Muhammad Bagheri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, during a recent visit to Moscow.
Iran’s recent efforts have yielded an important source of foreign currency. The value of goods transiting across its borders from most Asian countries rose to $33 billion, up 45 percent, in the eight months to November 2021, according to the latest figures released by the customs authority announced by Iran.
A spokesman for the U.S. State Department, while declining to comment on Iran’s barter transactions, said that the U.S. was enforcing sanctions on Iran. “We will of course address any attempts to evade sanctions,” the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, amid rising global oil prices, China is stepping up shipments of Iranian crude. On Thursday, Raisi said Iran’s oil exports – of which Beijing is the largest recipient – have increased by 40% since he took office in August, a number that is in line with independent estimates. In turn, Beijing’s sales to Tehran, which includes key data-x-items such as auto parts and drugs, rose to nearly $1 billion in November 2021, the highest level since April 2019 , according to Chinese customs data.
Foreign Policy said Thursday growing Sino-Iranian relations undermine the United States and secure China’s access to Iranian oil and other important commodities.
“For its part, Iran will get billions of dollars in Chinese energy and infrastructure investment, undercutting the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions” against the Islamic Republic, it said.
Much of Beijing and Tehran’s cooperation focuses on economic and diplomatic ties, it said, adding Chinese investment will provide economic stimulus and revenue for Iran and increasingly mitigate the effectiveness of U.S. sanctions against Iran.

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