Iran has rejected media reports that talks with China on a significant economic and security partnership are currently tied to the outcome of the U.S. elections.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Saied Khatibzadeh reportedly denied that talks were suspended until the outcome of the presidential election campaign on November 3.
This comes at a time when the countries are moving towards the conclusion of the so-called 25-year agreement, which should facilitate cooperation in areas such as energy, investment and security. This agreement was widely seen as a reaction to the crippling US sanctions against Iran.
According to the Iranian state news channel Press TV, Khatibzadeh said: “I deny such an issue, these questions are raised by opposing media and are untrue”.
He added that the political situation in the U.S. had not influenced the discussions in China and Iran, the media said.
“The negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and China under the 25-year agreement are being continued with great care and are not tied to elections in any country, especially in the United States of America.
Donald Trump has not only withdrawn from an international nuclear agreement with Iran promoted by Barack Obama, but he has imposed severe sanctions on the country in the Middle East as tensions rise.
If Joe Biden, Obama’s former vice president, moves into the White House, this could have a significant impact on the countries’ strained relations.
Washington Newsday has asked the Iranian State Department for comments.
What is the 25-year plan of Iran and China?
The Iranian leadership is working on a “comprehensive” 25-year plan to become “important strategic partners” with China.
China is already one of the largest export markets for Iranian crude oil, and Iranian analysts have stated that they want to secure this market, while Beijing wants to ensure the safe passage of oil tankers through the Strait of Hormuz.
Iranian analysts expect the agreement with China to be signed next year, regardless of the election results.
An 18-page document seen by the Financial Times suggests many areas of potential cooperation, including energy, petrochemicals, technology and military, and maritime projects.
PressTV reported that China will commit to a $400 billion investment in Iran over 25 years.
Closer relations between China and Iran are widely seen as a response to U.S. pressure on both countries since Trump took office in 2017.
The incumbent withdrew from the international agreement on Iran’s nuclear activities in 2018 before imposing a series of severe economic sanctions.
During Trump’s tenure in the White House, a massive trade war has broken out between China and the United States, threatening to exacerbate global tensions between the world’s two largest economies.
Chinese officials and the Trump administration have also exchanged blows over the coronavirus pandemic, with the U.S. blaming China for the global spread and retaliating against China with accusations that the U.S. is trying to divert attention from its own mishandling of the situation.