China and Iran have signed a global agreement aimed at charting the course of their economic, political and trade relations for the next 25 years, Iranian state television reported, in a challenge to the Biden administration.
The “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” agreement, signed in Tehran on Saturday by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, has been in the works since 2016, when President Xi Jinping became the first Chinese leader to visit the Iranian capital. in more than a decade.
“The document can elevate bilateral relations to a new strategic level,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said in a televised interview. The agreement focuses on boosting private sector collaboration and the Islamic Republic’s role in Xi’s flagship investment and infrastructure program, the Belt and Road Initiative, he said.
Quick recap: how the United States brought Iran and China into a stricter embrace
A preliminary copy of the outline of the deal that appeared in the media last year showed plans for the long-term supply of Iranian crude to China, as well as investments in oil, gas, petrochemical, renewables and nuclear power infrastructure.
The Beijing-Tehran alliance is a challenge to the administration of US President Joe Biden as it sets out to try They rally allies against China, which according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken is the “greatest geopolitical test” in the world.
China’s deal comes as efforts to revive Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers have stalled. The Biden administration has indicated that it is open to reengaging with Iran after then-President Donald Trump abandoned the deal nearly three years ago and reimposed economic sanctions, but the two sides have yet to agree to meet.
Iran’s closer integration with China can help shore up its economy against the impact of US sanctions, while also sending a clear signal to the Biden administration of Tehran’s intentions. Wang Yi, who arrived in Tehran on Friday, also met with President Hassan Rouhani to discuss the nuclear deal.
In a televised speech, Rouhani reiterated his views on the prospect of easing restrictions before the end of his second and final term as president in early August.
“We are ready for the lifting of sanctions,” he said on Saturday. “If the obstacles are removed, all or at least some sanctions can be lifted.”