Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi met China’s leader Xi Jinping Tuesday (Feb. 14) as part of a three-day high profile visit to help implement a 25-year cooperation alliance between the two countries.
The Iranian President was trailed by a large trade and finance delegation including the new central bank governor as well as six members of his cabinet, in the first such visit for at least 20 years.
During his visit- made at the invitation of Xi- the two leaders attended the signing of 20 cooperation agreements including trade and tourism, the Chinese government announced. Xi also hailed China’s “solidarity and cooperation” with Iran “in the face of the current complex changes in the world, times, and history”, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported. Beijing “supports Iran in safeguarding national sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity and national dignity … and in resisting unilateralism and hegemonism”, Xi said, according to CCTV.
Speaking at the Mehrabad Airport in Tehran on Thursday (Feb. 16) upon his return from China, Raisi described his official visit to China as positive and fruitful. “This trip was very important because it could implement agreements in various commercial and economic areas between the two countries” Raisi stated according to Tasnim News Agency. The Iranian official went on to say that the other topic of the negotiations of his trip was related to the cooperation between Iran and China in international organizations.
“Considering China’s important and prominent role in organizations such as Shanghai and BRICS, we witnessed China’s desire for the Islamic Republic of Iran to become a member of the BRICS organization, and this matter will be followed seriously by the Minister of Foreign Affairs so that the country can benefit from the capacity of effective and useful membership in this extra-regional organization” Raisi stated.
The BRICS, an independent international organisation that encourages trade and political and cultural cooperation among member states, is to decide this year on whether to admit new member states into the bloc, as Iran formally seeks to join.
The BRICS group was formed by Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2006, while South Africa joined it in 2010. Apart from Iran, a number of countries, including Egypt, Argentina, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia are also interested in joining the organisation. Algeria had previously applied for full membership in BRICS.
With reporting by Tansnim, CCTV, Middle East Monitor