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Chinese president in Tehran for first visit in 14 years

Xi Jinping is the first leader from six world powers to visit Islamic Republic since nuclear deal was finalized

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) upon the latter's arrival in the Iranian capital Tehran, on January 22, 2016. (AFP/ISNA/MOHAMMAD REZA NADIMI)
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) upon the latter's arrival in the Iranian capital Tehran, on January 22, 2016. (AFP/ISNA/MOHAMMAD REZA NADIMI)

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Tehran on Friday to hold talks with Iranian officials about future economic and political cooperation, Iran’s state TV reported.

The report quoted Ebrahim Rahimpour, Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Asia and Pacific affairs, as saying the Chinese president is in Tehran with a high-ranking political and economic delegation at the invitation of his Iranian counterpart President Hassan Rouhani.

“This is the first visit by a Chinese president in 14 years,” Rahimpour said. “During his one-day official trip, he is expected to visit Iran’s supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Rouhani.”

The television report said total trade between Tehran and Beijing stood at some $52 billion dollars in 2014. However, that figure dropped in 2015 due to decreasing global oil prices.

China is one of six world powers — along with the US, Germany, France, Britain and Russia — involved in the recently implemented Iranian nuclear deal, which lifted international sanctions against Tehran in exchange for limitations on the Iranian nuclear program. The Chinese president is the first leader of one of those six negotiating countries to visit the Islamic Republic since the deal was finalized.

The end to sanctions allows Iran to immediately recoup some $100 billion in assets frozen overseas. The country will also see huge benefits from new oil, trade and financial opportunities now Western sanctions against it have been lifted.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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