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Iran set to sign 25-year ‘strategic accord’ with China during FM’s visit

Top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi arrives in Tehran to ink deal that will include investments in energy and infrastructure; final details not announced yet

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, shakes hands with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a meeting at the Diaoyutai state guest house in Beijing, December 31, 2019. (Noel Celis/Pool Photo via AP)
China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi, right, shakes hands with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a meeting at the Diaoyutai state guest house in Beijing, December 31, 2019. (Noel Celis/Pool Photo via AP)

Iran and China are expected to sign a 25-year strategic cooperation agreement during a visit to the country by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who arrived in the country on Friday, according to official Iranian media.

The accord is expected to include Chinese investments in Iran’s energy and infrastructure sectors, according to a Reuters report. Few details have emerged on the agreement so far.

China, one of Tehran’s main backers on the international stage, is also Iran’s top trading partner. It is a key market for Iranian crude exports, which have been severely curtailed by US sanctions.

Iran’s state news agency IRNA said that “the signing of the comprehensive cooperation program of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China by the foreign ministers of the two countries is another program of this two-day trip.”

In this photo from January 23, 2016, Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, right, meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tehran, Iran. A portrait of late Iranian revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini hangs on the wall. (Office of the Iranian supreme leader via AP)

Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers gave the Islamic Republic relief from international sanctions in return for limits on its nuclear program, but former US president Donald Trump took the US out of the deal in 2018, leading Iran to walk back its own commitments, breaching limits on enriching uranium and other measures. A number of other world powers remain committed to the deal.

US President Joe Biden wants to negotiate tougher conditions for an agreement with Iran, including by limiting its missile production and destabilizing activities in the region. Iran has ruled out such talks and demands the US return to the deal before it returns to compliance.

Agencies contributed to this report

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