China Eyes Iran Trade in Own Currencies

China’s President Xi Jinping in a meeting with his Iranian counterpart offered plans for trade exchange between the two countries using their own currencies, namely rial and yuan.

In a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, held on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the city of Qingdao on Sunday, the Chinese president highlighted the necessity for the promotion of banking cooperation between Tehran and Beijing and bilateral trade using the national currencies.

“We are determined to cement economic relations with Iran,” he said, adding, “China’s participation in the project of constructing Tehran-Isfahan express railway is in its implementation phase and we hope that the Tehran-Mashhad route will also start soon.”

According to the Iranian president’s official website, Jinping also reaffirmed China’s commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and modification of Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor, adding, “Cooperation between the two countries in fighting terrorism and drugs, as well as technical, educational and defense fields will continue.”

Describing the JCPOA as a great multilateral achievement that guarantees regional peace and cooperation, the Chinese leader said, “With their unilateral spirit and disregard of commitments and regulations, Americans are seeking to change international order to their own benefit.”

“China is decisively against the United States’ unilateral move in withdrawing from the JCPOA and imposing new sanctions, and believes that all sides to the agreement must live up to their commitments,” he added.

For his part, the Iranian president hailed China as Iran’s top trade partner in recent years, saying, “Trade by the national currencies of the two countries can help continue this trend and development of banking cooperation is the greatest support for implementation of agreements between the two countries.”

“The two countries have very important projects and strategic cooperation in the fields of energy, transportation and industry and it is essential that these projects and cooperation gain momentum within the framework of the joint commission of the two countries,” Rouhani added.

Iran welcomes Chinese companies’ investment in upstream energy fields, he went on to say, adding, “The two countries’ cooperation in fighting terrorism, extremism and smuggling is effective in boosting regional stability and this cooperation must continue.”

On the sidelines of the bilateral meeting, the two countries also signed four memorandums of understanding for cooperation in various fields, including joint research cooperation between the Iranian Vice-Presidency for Science and Technology and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, cooperation in countering illegal production and smuggling of narcotics, psychedelic drugs and their precursors, interaction between Iran’s Securities and Exchange Organization and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), as well as joint cooperation within the framework of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

Earlier in the day, the Iranian president had a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the SCO summit, discussing closer bilateral and regional relations between the two nations.

Welcoming India’s active participation in the development of Iran’s Chabahar port, Rouhani said, “Chabahar port, as the bridge between India to Afghanistan and Central Asia to Eastern Europe, can strengthen the historical and commercial relations between the two countries and the region more than ever.”

The Indian premier, for his part, voiced his country’s determination to develop inclusive relations with Iran, highlighting the importance and special status of Chabahar for the development of regional cooperation.

Accompanied by a high-profile delegation, Rouhani met several top foreign officials on the sidelines of the two-day summit in China.

The SCO was established in Shanghai in 2001, with China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan as founding members.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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