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China, Iran Sign Economic, Anti-Drug Agreements

Chabahar Port can serve as India’s bridge to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eastern Europe and contribute to the cementing of historical and trade ties between India and Iran
China, Iran Sign Economic, Anti-Drug AgreementsChina, Iran Sign Economic, Anti-Drug Agreements

President Hassan Rouhani met his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping on Sunday and the two sides signed four memorandums of understanding to prevent drug trafficking and promote two-way trade. 

The two leaders held talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in east China's coastal city of Qingdao on Sunday, president.ir reported.

China, Iran’s largest trading partner and long-time ally, has denounced the US withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Speaking at the SCO summit on Sunday, Xi expressed “regret” that Washington had withdrawn from the nuclear deal.

"We are upset by the US unilateral decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program. China is ready to cooperate with Russia and other countries to preserve the JCPOA," Sputnik reported.

  Chabahar Port

Earlier in the day, Rouhani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met and stressed the strategic importance of developing Chabahar Port for expansion of economic and regional cooperation.

The two met on the sidelines of the 18th Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in east China's coastal city of Qingdao on Sunday, Mehr News Agency reported.

Rouhani said Iran welcomes expansion of relations with India as a friendly country in the region, voicing readiness to develop strategic cooperation with the South Asian nation in all fields.

He welcomed India’s active participation in developing Chabahar Port, adding that “Chabahar Port can serve as India’s bridge to Afghanistan, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, further contributing to the cementing of historical and trade ties between India and Iran.”

The Indian leader noted a tangible increase in the expansion of bilateral ties, voicing his country’s resolve to continue building cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.

He also referred to the special status of Chabahar in boosting regional cooperation.

On June 9, officials from the Indian Shipping Ministry announced that they would start development operations at Chabahar Port by June 13 despite the US pullout from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Tehran plans to use Chabahar for transshipment to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Iranian port also provides India with an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan. 

  Iran-Mongolia Ties

Rouhani also met his Mongolian counterpart on Sunday where he hailed the growing bilateral relations with the country and said all potentials should be tapped to boost ties in all areas.

“Tehran is ready to develop and strengthen its economic and trade ties with Mongolia, and all the capabilities and opportunities existing in the two countries should be used to deepen the bilateral relations,” Rouhani said in a meeting with his Mongolian counterpart, Khaltmaagiin Battulga, on the sidelines SCO summit in China, Tasnim News Agency reported.

He emphasized that closer economic cooperation between Tehran and Ulaanbaatar serves the interests of both nations. “We encourage the Iranian private sector and businesses to participate in Mongolia’s development projects.”

Battulga hailed the relationship between the two countries as moving forward and said Ulaanbaatar is determined to strengthen its relations with Tehran in all fields, the economy in particular.

  US Unilateralism

Speaking at the SCO summit on Sunday, Roluhani criticized US unilateralism in withdrawing from nuclear deal and said he appreciated efforts by China and Russia to maintain the agreement.

“US attempts to impose its policies on others are expanding as a threat to all,” Rouhani told the SCO leaders, Reuters reported.

“The recent example of such unilateralism and the defiance of the decisions of the international community by the US government is its withdrawal from the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the nuclear agreement by its official name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers lifted international sanctions on Tehran. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear activities.

After Donald Trump withdrew the United States last month, calling the agreement deeply flawed, European states have been scrambling to ensure Iran gets enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the landmark agreement.

  Moscow Committed to JCPOA

Russian President Vladimir Putin also addressed the summit, saying that Moscow remains committed to the JCPOA.

"Our countries are definitely concerned about the current situation regarding the Iranian nuclear program," the Russian leader pointed out, adding that "the US withdrawal from the JCPOA may destabilize the situation." 

"Russia calls for strict and consistent implementation of this plan," Putin stated, TASS reported.

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