Iran Will Not Forget “Friends in Adversity”

Iran Will Not Forget “Friends in Adversity”
Iran Will Not Forget “Friends in Adversity”

A senior diplomat said that after the removal of nuclear sanctions, Iran will not forget friends that stood by it during the difficult times when Tehran was facing economic sanctions.

Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia-Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour made the statement in an interview with the state radio on Sunday, referring to the Saturday trip of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Iran, which is the first of its kind in 14 years, ISNA reported.

"The trip shows that in the new [post-sanctions] era, Iran is not completely turning to the West [looking for economic cooperation]," he said.

The sanctions relief follows Iran’s implementation of its nuclear-related obligations under the July 14 landmark agreement with P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany).

Rahimpour also said the timeframe of the trip right after the implementation of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is a sign of willingness for improving economic relations.

China is Iran's biggest trade partner and continued buying oil from Iran after nuclear-related sanctions were tightened in 2012, despite the US pressure.

The deputy foreign minister said Chinese officials expect that after the removal of sanctions, they can preserve their position in the Iranian market by adopting new strategies, which have been welcomed by the Iranian officials.

On other objectives of Xi's visit, Rahimpour said the Chinese are trying to mediate between Middle East states to promote peace in the region.

"They don't want to see escalated tensions in the region, because it is of strategic importance to them and is a major source of energy supplies for China," Rahimpour said.

During his Middle East tour that began on Jan. 19, Xi visited Saudi Arabia and Egypt before arriving in Iran. He was expected to make diplomatic efforts toward settling the diplomatic row between Tehran and Riyadh.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei received Chinese President Xi Jinping in Tehran on Saturday.

In high-level talks co-chaired by President Hassan Rouhani and Xi earlier in the day, the two sides agreed to release a statement announcing the beginning of a strategic partnership.       

The statement, formally titled “Strategic comprehensive partnership between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China,” outlines a roadmap for Tehran-Beijing cooperation.