China cooperation with Iran to continue – Tehran says economy not at dead end from US sanctions
BEIJING, Aug 18, (RTRS): China will continue its cooperation and relations with Iran, state news agency Xinhua reported on Friday, citing a statement from Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi.
The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 deal in which Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most Western sanctions, is in line with the international community’s “common interest”, the Chinese diplomat said in a phone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to Xinhua. “We have openly indicated that we oppose the wrong practices of unilateral sanctions and ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ in international relations,” Wang Yi was quoted as saying.
Beijing has cultivated close commercial links with Tehran, especially in the energy sector. China’s ties with Tehran are open, transparent and lawful, its foreign ministry said earlier in Augest, after US President Donald Trump said companies doing business with Iran would be barred from the United States.
Earlier this year, Trump took the call to pull the United States out of the JCPOA, ignoring pleas from the other world powers that had co-sponsored the deal, including Washington’s main European allies, Britain, France and Germany, as well as Russia and China.
Elsewhere, an Iranian lawmaker said on Saturday that President Hassan Rouhani would appear before parliament on Aug 28 to answer questions on his government’s handling of Iran’s economic struggles, but an aide to Rouhani denied a date had been set. Lawmaker Assadollah Abbasi was quoted as saying by the parliamentary news agency ICANA: “It has been agreed that the parliamentary session to question the president will take place on Aug 28.”
However, the vice president for parliamentary affairs, Hosseinali Amiri, was quoted as saying a few hours later by the state news agency IRNA that “no date has been agreed on” for such an event. It would be the first time parliament has summoned Rouhani, who is under pressure from hardline rivals to change his cabinet following a deterioration in relations with the United States ands growing economic difficulties.
Lawmakers want to question Rouhani on topics including the decline of the Iranian rial currency, which has lost more than half its value since April, as well as weak economic growth and rising unemployment.
Meanwhile, Iran said on Saturday it would resist the pressures of US sanctions by relying on its natural and human resources, as Washington pushes allies to cut economic ties with Tehran. “It is a critical moment for our economy, but we are not in a dead end,” Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA. “This country has plenty of human and natural resources that can rely on.”
“The size of our oil and gas resources is number one in the world. In minerals and metals we are among the top 10 countries,” Jahangiri said. Washington has withdrawn from a deal that had lifted sanctions on Tehran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme. Sanctions imposed in August target Iran’s trade in gold and other precious metals, its purchases of US dollars and its car industry.
US President Donald Trump has said a new round of sanctions will be imposed in November, targeting Iranian oil sales. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week rejected Trump’s offer of talks. Iran’s rial currency has lost about half of its value since April, driven mainly by heavy demand for dollars among ordinary Iranians trying to protect their savings.
Iran’s navy has mounted a locally built advanced defensive weapons system on one of its warships for the first time, the Iranian navy chief was quoted as saying on Saturday, as tensions mount with the US military in the Gulf. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed earlier this month it held war games in the Gulf, saying they were aimed at “confronting possible threats” by enemies.