Chinese President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to Iran, Beijing’s foreign ministry said Thursday, as a three-day trip to China by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi drew to a close.

The Chinese president “gladly accepted the invitation” by Raisi, said a joint statement by both countries, although no date was given.

The Chinese Xinhua news agency said Xi confirmed his readiness to visit Iran when possible.

The trip would be his first to Iran since 2016, which came soon after Iran agreed with major world powers in 2015 to rein in its nuclear program in return for lifting punishing sanctions.

Beijing and Tehran have strong economic ties and in 2021 signed a 25-year “strategic cooperation pact.”

Both countries are under pressure from Western nations over their positions on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while Iran is under strict US sanctions due to its nuclear program.

In a joint statement Thursday issued at the close of a Raisi’s visit to Beijing, the two sides blamed Washington for current tensions and called for the sanctions to be lifted, saying that “ensuring Iran’s economic dividends” was an “important part” of the 2015 nuclear deal.

It called for the agreement, which then-president Donald Trump withdrew the US from in 2018, to be “fully and effectively implemented,” reported AFP.

The statement added that Iran and China agreed to strengthen contacts between their ministries of defense and expand the scope of joint exercises and training courses.

The China’s official state television reported that Iran is seeking to draw $40 billion in energy investments from China. Xi said Beijing will deepen cooperation with Tehran in trade and industry.

On Tuesday, Xi hailed the “solidarity” between Beijing and Tehran their mutual support “in the face of the current complex changes in the world.”

Source » aawsat