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Tehran defends 25-year cooperation pact with China

July 9, 2020 at 8:02 pm

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and China’s President Xi Jinping attend a welcoming ceremony at the Xijiao State Guesthouse in Shanghai on May 22, 2014 [Kenzaburo Fukuhara/AFP via Getty Images]

A proposed 25-year cooperation deal between Iran and China has raised controversy within and outside Iran, even before the potential pact is finalized, Anadolu Agency reports.

While critics of the Hassan Rouhani-led government describing the move as a “secretive” agreement, Rouhani and his cabinet colleagues have strongly come out in its defense.

According to sources, the “comprehensive” $400 billion agreement has been on the drawing board since January 2016, when Chinese President Xi Jinping became the first world leader to visit Iran following the signing of the nuclear deal (JCPOA) between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

During the historic visit, the two countries signed a total of 17 cooperation agreements in the areas of energy, trade, industry and commerce.

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As a follow up to the 2016 deal, both Tehran and Beijing had been hammering out the details of a long-term agreement, now seemingly coming to fruition after four years.

Tehran on June 21 reportedly gave its approval to the draft of the pact, with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif subsequently entering into final talks with China.

Government spokesman Ali Rabiei confirmed this on June 23, saying the deal was based on a “win-win approach” that he said “heralds long-term cooperation.”

While Rabiei stopped short of divulging details, he said “recognizing cultural commonalities, encouraging multilateralism, supporting equal rights of the nations and insisting on domestic development” were part of the proposed treaty.