The signing ceremony came after years of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, with Chinese President Xi Jinping first proposing a draft version of a comprehensive agreement with Tehran during his 2016 visit to Iran.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi signed the highly anticipated Iran-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement after more than five years of gruelling talks.
The deal reportedly envisions increasing bilateral trade over 10-fold to $600 billion per year, and promises Iran Chinese investment of as much as $400 billion into the Middle Eastern nation’s oil, gas, petrochemicals, renewable energy and nuclear energy infrastructure, with Tehran committing to becoming a major reliable source of energy for Beijing.
The accord also brings Iran into the grasp of Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure scheme – an ambitious scheme worth the equivalent of over $1 trillion aiming to link China to Europe and Africa via a series of new land- and sea-based infrastructure projects across dozens of nations.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised the signing of the agreement on Saturday, expressing gratitude to Beijing for its support for Tehran in the international arena in the face of unilateral US sanctions, including insofar as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal is concerned.
Rouhani went on to suggest that the US military presence in…