Iran seeks closer ties with China and “has never trusted the West,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Saturday after a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Jinping paid the first visit to Iran by a Chinese leader in 14 years and met with Khamenei in Tehran.
“Westerners have never obtained the trust of the Iranian nation,” Khamenei said. “The government and nation of Iran have always sought expanding relations with independent and trustful countries like China.”
Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, told Jinping later Saturday that Iran will continue its policy of bolstering ties with the “East.” He praised China’s “independent” stance in global issues, saying it helps deepen strategic ties with Tehran.
“China has always stood by the side of the Iranian nation during hard days,” Rouhani said, in comments posted on his official website. The US, however, was “not honest” in its fight against terrorism in the Middle East, according to Reuters.
“Americans pursue such dishonest approach to all issues,” the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Khamenei saying.
Khamenei said Iran won’t forget China’s support at the time of sanctions.
“The Islamic Republic will never forget China’s cooperation during the sanctions era,” state TV quoted Khamenei as saying.
Officials from the two countries signed 17 documents and letters of intent to broaden bilateral cooperation in industry, transportation, railways, ports, new technology, tourism, the environment and energy.
China is one of six world powers — along with the U.S., Germany, France, Britain and Russia — that reached a landmark agreement with Iran last summer to lift international sanctions in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program. The deal was implemented a week ago after the U.N. nuclear watchdog certified that Iran had fulfilled all its commitments.