Who: 17 Documents & Letters of Intents
Where: Tehran, Iran
When: 23 January 2016
Why: To broaden bilateral cooperation
China and Iran on 23 January 2016 signed 17 documents & letters of intents to broaden bilateral cooperation. The agreements were signed in Tehran during the Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Iran.
The agreements cover various fields such as energy, industrial capacity, finance, investment, communications, culture, judiciary, science and technology, news media, customs, climate change and human resources.
During the visit, Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed to elevate their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership to boost cooperation on all fronts and carry forward their millennia-old friendship.
Xi Jinping’s visit assumed significance as it was his first trip since the lifting of sanctions on Iran. In early January 2016, the USA, European nations and Japan lifted oil and financial sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPA) or Vienna agreement.
Moreover, it was also the first trip by a Chinese head of state in 14 years. And, for Xi Jinping, it was the first trip to the Middle East since he came into the office in March 2013.
China has been Iran’s biggest trading partner for six years in a row, with the total volume reaching around 52 billion US dollars in 2014. Besides, China is also the top customer for Iran’s oil exports.
Iran is also an important country for China for the successful implementation of its Belt and Road initiative in the Middle East and beyond the region up to the Europe.