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Iran enjoys ‘unique position’ in China’s New Silk Road project: VP

Iran's Vice President Mohammad Mokhber speaks at the opening ceremony of the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum in Shanghai on November 5, 2023.

Iran’s Vice President Mohammad Mokhber says the country has a “unique” position in China’s giant New Silk Road project, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 6th China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum in Shanghai on Sunday, Mokhber enumerated Iran’s capacities in the fields of economy, oil and gas resources, minerals and human development index.

“Iran’s position and infrastructure is unique in the Silk Road,” he said, referring to the giant project that involves a wave of Chinese funding for infrastructure projects around the world, in a bid to speed Chinese goods to markets further afield. 

Mokhber also noted that Iran is geographically situated “at the connection center of the Middle East, Asia and Europe” with land and maritime borders with 15 countries and a population of over 600 million.

“It also has 2,700 kilometers of maritime borders, long beaches, Chabahar and Jask ocean ports, as well as a corridor route between the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman and the Caspian Sea, and transit infrastructure along the Silk Road,” he added.

“In terms of its geo-political situation, Iran connects East and Southeast Asia to Europe and vice versa as a historical and economic bridge.”

CIIE is a six-day multi-sector trade show for imported products from all over the world and is the largest event on China’s international trade calendar. The annual event was launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2018 to promote the country’s free trade credentials and tackle criticism of its trade surplus with many partners.

Israel committing ‘crimes against humanity’ in Gaza

The Iranian official further touched on Israel’s ongoing war on the Gaza Strip, saying the Tel Aviv regime’s “unprecedented acts amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

“International bodies should put high on their agenda an immediate end to the killing of the oppressed people, as well as sending humanitarian aid to Gaza and lifting its blockade,” he emphasized.

Iran has ‘significant’ volume of exports to China

Speaking before his trip, Mokhber said that Iran has a “significant” volume of exports to China and that the two countries enjoy a good trade balance.

He also hailed strategic relations and proper cooperation between Tehran and Beijing in different sectors.

President Ebrahim Raeisi’s visit to China led to good understandings and agreements that need to be followed up, he said, stressing the need to remove obstacles to fully implement the agreements.

‘CIIE can help expand Iran’s exports to China’

Meanwhile, Mehdi Safari, Iranian deputy foreign minister for economic affairs, said that CIIE can help expand Iran’s exports to China between $2 and $3 billion.

China is one the target countries for Iran’s exports and good agreements have been reached to boost trade, he told IRNA news agency.

Iran’s trade with China reached almost $16 billion in 2022, up seven percent from 2021.

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