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Iran, China won’t bow to illegal US sanctions in enacting strategic deal: Tehran envoy to Beijing

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi bump elbows during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021.

Iran and China will not be held back by the unlawful American sanctions against the two countries in implementing their 25-year strategic cooperation agreement, which the Western states view as “a threat to their core interests” in Asia, Tehran’s envoy Beijing says.

During an interview with China’s Global Times daily, published on Thursday, Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh said Tehran and Beijing consider the US sanctions “interference in domestic affairs and a violation of international law.”

“Therefore, we will not bow to these unlawful sanctions” when implementing the recently-signed agreement on comprehensive cooperation in various fields, said the diplomat. “I believe that independent countries are determined to preserve their sovereignty and follow their own destinies to cooperate in order to improve people’s lives.”

The agreement, which had been in the making since 2016, was finalized in early March during a visit to Tehran by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The document covers a wide range of cooperation areas including trade, politics, culture, tourism, security and defense besides regional and international issues of common interests.

The Iranian ambassador rejected media speculation that the long-term deal was meant to challenge the United States and other adversaries of China and Iran, saying the agreement merely seeks to “deepen and strengthen these bilateral ties and is not against any third country.”

‘West using media propaganda to hinder Iran-China ties’

Reacting to a question about claims in Western media that the deal is “selling Iran off to China,” Keshavarzzadeh said the Westerners “consider China, a rising world power, as a threat to their strategic dominance,” and that is why “they try to paint a bad image of China to frighten the people of other countries.”

Kheshavarzzadeh said the Western countries see the establishment of long-term, friendly ties between China and Iran, or any other independent state, as a “threat to their core interests in the region” and are thus using media as a tool to throw a wrench into such relations and “extend their colonial dominance.”

“They publish false and manipulative information through social networks and mass media in order to prevent friendly cooperation between Iran and China,” the ambassador said.

However, he added, “when economic cooperation brings prosperity, well-being, and improves the livelihood of the local people, this poisonous and unrealistic propaganda of the West loses its effectiveness.”

‘Close defense ties needed to face common threats’

Pressed particularly about the military aspect of Tehran-Beijing cooperation under the deal, the ambassador said it is natural for the countries to keep close contacts between their military, defense and security sectors since both China are facing “common threats.”

“Iran and China are facing common threats like terrorism, extremism, separatism, organized crime, and drug trafficking which require consistent cooperation in critical regional and international issues, to tackle the above-mentioned challenges and promote peace and stability in the region, freedom of shipping and trade in international waters and so on,” the official added.

China playing ‘constructive role’ in Iran nuclear issue

Elsewhere, Keshavarzzadeh praised the “constructive role” China has played in the diplomatic process over the Iranian nuclear case and said, “The two countries have a close exchange of views on this issue.”

Beijing, he said, has rightly criticized the United States for abandoning a 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and six major world countries — China included — in violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

“We expect JCPOA members and the international community to fulfill their commitments and obligations according to the resolutions,” he added.

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