Iran and China have underlined the need for further expansion of Tehran-Beijing cooperation to find a political solution to the deadly crisis gripping Syria.
During a Thursday meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic Republic “is prepared to initiate effective and constructive cooperation with China on various regional issues, particularly for the resolution of the Syria crisis.”
Rouhani further reiterated Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy, saying, “The Iranian government and nation seek the implementation of their legitimate rights within the framework of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty).”
The Chinese president, for his part, highlighted Iran’s influential role in the Middle East, emphasizing the necessity for cooperation between the two nations to pave the way for the peaceful settlement of the Syria crisis.
Referring to the nuclear talks between Tehran and the P5+1 group of world powers -- including the US, Britain, France, China, and Russia plus Germany -- Xi said Beijing believes that Iran’s legitimate rights should be respected and that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear issue must be resolved through dialogue.
The two sides also called for the expansion of Iran-China relations in different areas.
The meeting took place ahead of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, which is scheduled to be held in the Kyrgyz capital city of Bishkek on Friday. Rouhani, who arrived in the city a day earlier, has also met with his Afghan and Kyrgyz counterparts on the sidelines of the SCO summit. He is also due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The SCO is an intergovernmental security organization founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Iran, India, Mongolia, and Pakistan are observer members of the organization.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif; Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh; and Rouhani’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Nahavandian are accompanying him during his two-day trip to the Central Asian country.