China’s Xi conveys support for Iran during Raisi’s visit | Nuclear Energy News

Chinese leader Xi Jinping expressed support for Iran during the country’s president’s visit as Tehran tries to expand its ties with Beijing and Moscow to offset Western sanctions over its aggression. nuclear development of the country.

“China supports Iran in safeguarding national sovereignty” and “resisting unilateralism and bullying behavior,” Xi said in a statement published by Chinese state television on its website. me on Tuesday.

His comments came when China Welcoming Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during the first state visit to the Asian economic giant and the first by an Iranian president in 20 years.

Xi called for an appropriate solution to the Iran nuclear issue as he expressed Beijing’s “solidarity” with Iran amid global turmoil.

China will continue to “constructively engage” in talks to resume talks on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, Xi told Raisi during the talks in Beijing.

A 2015 nuclear deal restricted Iran’s uranium enrichment program to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons in return for the lifting of international sanctions. Iran says it is continuing to develop nuclear energy for peaceful reasons.

But in 2018, then US President Donald Trump unilaterally abandoned agreement, saying it did not do enough to limit Tehran’s nuclear activities, and reimposed sanctions.

China has criticized Washington for withdrawing from the agreement and insisted that the US should take the first step in restoring the treaty.

In September, the US imposed new sanctions on companies involved in Iran’s oil exports, including five based in China. Washington says it will continue to enforce sanctions on Iran’s oil and petrochemical sales as long as Tehran continues to accelerate. nuclear program.

Raisi was accompanied by a large Iranian trade and financial delegation in Beijing and had previously been greeted by Mr. Xi on the red carpet.

“In the face of the current complicated changes of the world, times and history, China and Iran have supported each other. [and] work together in solidarity and cooperation,” Xi said, according to state broadcaster CCTV.

Pressure on Ukraine

Both countries face pressure from Western nations over their stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while Iran has come under strict US sanctions due to its nuclear program. this country.

“China is Iran’s largest trading partner and the sole customer of its heavily sanctioned oil exports,” said Al Jazeera’s Katrina Yu. “US-led sanctions have plunged Iran into its worst economic predicament in more than 40 years.”

Iran has emerged as one of Russia’s few remaining allies as Moscow grows increasingly isolated internationally because of the invasion.

Western countries accuse Tehran of supplying weapons drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine, a charge it denies.

In December, Washington outlined what it said was the deepening relationship between Iran and Russia involving equipment such as helicopters, fighter jets and drones.

Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine is a sensitive issue for Beijing, which has sought to remain neutral while offering diplomatic support to strategic ally Russia.

“Xi Jinping said that China will continue to engage in negotiations to restore the agreement,” Yu said. “Ebrahim Raisi’s visit comes as both China and Iran strengthen ties with Russia. Both sides say they oppose the world order led by the United States and its allies.”

According to CCTV, the two sides have signed a number of bilateral cooperation documents in the fields of agriculture, trade, tourism, environmental protection, health, disaster relief, culture and sports.

Raisi and Xi first met as presidents on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Uzbekistan in September. China has supported Iran’s current success. Bid to become a full member organization’s.

Last year, Iran and China also started the implementation phase of the agreement 25-year cooperation agreement under which China will invest billions of dollars in Iran’s oil and gas sector in exchange for supplying oil and petrochemical products. China is already Iran’s largest trading partner.

The treaty was originally proposed by Xi during his visit to Iran in 2016.

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