Larijani: China Ties Unaffected by Int’l Developments

Larijani: China Ties Unaffected by Int’l DevelopmentsLarijani: China Ties Unaffected by Int’l Developments

Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani described Tehran-Beijing relations as "stable and well-established", stressing that the ties are unaffected by political developments in the US, Europe or elsewhere.

"Our ties with China and Russia will not be affected by [our] relations with other countries," said the top lawmaker in an interview with China's Phoenix news channel, ICANA reported on Wednesday.

Pointing to his January visit to China, in which he met Chinese President Xi Jinping, Larijani said leaders in both countries believe in the need for "strategic" relations.

"Deeper cooperation will help boost economic growth in Asia and add to China's weight," he said. 

"Our scientific, security, economic, cultural and political cooperation can be very beneficial for the future of the region and the world."

Beijing is the top customer of Iranian oil and its largest trade partner. The two sides have agreed to boost economic ties to $600 billion in the next 10 years.

Larijani said the government welcomes China's investment in Iran and gives priority to Chinese oil and gas firms willing to undertake projects in the country.

"In our relations with other countries, we don't want to be a buyer only. We insist on transfer of technology," he said.

  Banking Hurdles 

The top lawmaker said there are obstacles to bigger Tehran-Beijing trade that can only be solved by the Chinese leaders.

"Our banking relations are not satisfactory yet. Without easier banking cooperation, there can't be closer trade cooperation. China is expected to take proper steps to help bring our businessmen closer," he said.

Iran's banking links with the outside world suffered from about a decade of heavy international sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear work.

With the removal of sanctions under the July 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, Iranian banks are struggling to connect to their foreign counterparts.

Iranian officials complain that the US lack of full commitment to its deal obligations has deprived Iran of expected benefits, including easier access to the global financial system.

Asked to comment on the future of the nuclear pact, considering the recent election of Donald Trump as the US president, Larijani said the accord is not a bilateral agreement between Iran and the US and cannot be derailed by one party when six others want it alive.

Larijani said the US stance on the deal is already different from that of its European allies, which in recent decades have had strong economic relations with Tehran and are now in close contact with it.

During his election campaigns, Trump repeatedly attacked the deal and once declared that his "number-one priority" would be to "dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran", which was reached after two years of negotiations by Tehran and P5+1 (the US, Britain, France, Russia and China, plus Germany).

However, Trump has also made other contradictory statements about the deal and in the last version of his views, one of his advisors said last month that he will demand modifications to the deal.

  No Final Judgment 

Larijani said he has no "final judgment" on Trump yet, as his experience shows that what a Trump administration will do may be different from what he had said.

"If they take the current path, we will continue to fulfill our commitments and stick to JCPOA, and if they change course, we will make appropriate changes," he said, using the formal name of the pact.

The deal has already been endangered by the frequent anti-Iran bills introduced by the US Congress.

The latest is a bill renewing Iran Sanctions Act, which was first implemented in 1996 to punish investments in Iran's energy industry, for another decade.

The bill has been approved by the US House of Representatives and Senate, and it is up to US President Barack Obama to endorse or veto it.

Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said last Sunday that the renewal of the ISA would be a breach of JCPOA.

"There is no difference between starting a sanction and restarting it after it expires," the Leader said, adding that the ISA renewal "would definitely prompt a response by the Islamic Republic".

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