Chinese President Xi Jinping insisted on Wednesday that his country is seeking to develop “comprehensive strategic ties” with Iran.
The Chinese leader made the statement in a meeting with the visiting Iranian Parliament speaker Ali Larijani in Beijing on Wednesday.
During the meeting, Larijani called China “one of Iran’s reliable partners”, calling for the expansion of mutual relationship.
A day earlier, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Beijing, said, “Our relationship with China is very valuable to us.” Zarif added, “We consider the comprehensive strategic partnership between Iran and China as one of our most important relations.”
Also on Wednesday, Larijani held talks with Lee Shoe Young, chairman of Iran-China parliamentary friendship group.
During the meeting, he said that friendly ties between the two states date back more than 2,000 years.
“No country can damage the Iran-China relations,” added Larijani who started a tour of China on Monday accompanied by Zarif, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, central bank governor Abdolnasser Hamati and some parliamentarians.
Larijani on Tuesday said that Iran is ready to boost ties with China in various areas.
“Relations between Iran and China have always been based on friendship,” he said during a meeting with Li Zhanshu, Chinese chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, in Beijing.
Li said that the two countries are determined to expand relations.
Both Iran and China have been the target of Washington’s stepped-up economic pressure tactics under President Donald Trump.
The Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, to which China is also a signatory, last May and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against Tehran.
China, along with other parties to the deal, has repeatedly defended the nuclear deal and expressed its resolve to keep the accord in place.
Washington has also been engaged in economic tensions with Beijing over the past months, in what observers fear could turn into an all-out trade war between the world’s two largest economies.
The tensions escalated last year when the Trump administration applied tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, while Beijing retaliated with its own duties on $110 billion worth of U.S. merchandise.