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China-Iran ties building momentum under Belt and Road Initiative
Last Updated: 2016-12-08 00:25 | Xinhua
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China and Iran ties could witness a new era of prosperity under the Belt and Road Initiative, which dovetails well with Iranian development strategies and brings about win-win results for both sides.

Addressing an audience at Peking University in Beijing during his official visit to China, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tuesday that China's Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013, is inclusive, win-win and fosters cooperation.

A friend in need is a friend indeed. Calling China a trustworthy friend of Iran, Zarif said Iran hopes to deeply participate in the Belt and Road Initiative and strengthen cooperation with China in various areas to enrich the bilateral partnership.

He said cooperation prospects are broad and include areas such as politics, trade, energy, security and anti-terrorism, as well as technology, culture and education.

China has long taken Iran as an important partner in the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, namely the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.

Since Xi's visit to Iran in January, the first in 14 years by a Chinese head of state, the two ancient civilizations have elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership to boost cooperation on all fronts and carry forward their millennia-old friendship.

Wu Bingbing, honorary research fellow at the Institute of International and Strategic Studies at Peking University, said Iran has long recognized the inclusiveness of China's Belt and Road Initiative, and pushed hard to dovetail its development strategies with China's with valuable domestic support over the past two years.

There is more scope for cooperation in energy and trade, he said. Taking energy as an example, the professor said that China could further cooperate with the Middle East country, rich in oil and gas, in the upstream, midstream and downstream exploitation.

Besides traditional energy, cooperation could be expanded to new energy sources, including solar energy, wind power and nuclear energy, he said.

The Iranian foreign minister mentioned that the building of road and railway networks is important for Iran, whose economy has been burdened by years of sanctions resulting in infrastructure that has lagged behind. Wu said China could help in building seaports, airports and telecommunications.

Wu added that China's mature technology coupled with Iran's large reservoir of young talent could mean further areas of cooperation.

Regarding extended processing, China and Iran could work together on pistachio and saffron production, which are special local products in Iran in need of deep processing.

The two countries are expected to strengthen ties in the post-sanctions era, with investment and financial cooperation facilitating the bilateral relationship.

 

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