Iran-China relations 50 years on: The past and the future
Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh

Editor's note: Decision Makers is a global platform for decision-makers to share their insights on events shaping today's world. To mark the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations established by the Islam Republic of Iran and the People's Republic of China, we interviewed Iranian Ambassador to China Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh. The article reflects the guest’s opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Wang Guan: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Iran. How would you characterize current China and Iran relations? What are your reflections on this relationship 50 years on?

Ambassador Keshavarzzadeh: The relations that Iranians and the Chinese enjoy are rooted to the centuries ago through the Silk Road. The Silk Road was very familiar with the Iranians at that time. Our two people had good relations, even in our literature. For example, in the 7th century, a lot of the Iranian poems say about the calligraphy in China. Our relations are about centuries old, but we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations.

It shows that Iran and China, during these years, had a very good relation. During the centuries, we didn't have any kind of war or bitter relation between each other. We had a very good relation. After the revolution, Iran and China made good progress.

In 2016, when Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran, we upgraded our relations to strategic comprehensive partnership. Recently, in March, the State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi signed Comprehensive Cooperation Plan with us to boost our relations. This is important. For 14 years on, China is the first partner in economic relation with Iran. It is our first partner for 14 consecutive years. It shows that Iran and China have a very good relation and framework. This year we have some celebration, as the exchanging of the messages between the two leaders. I'm very optimistic. We will have progress in our relations in the future.

Wang Guan: You mentioned this Comprehensive Cooperation Plan. This is pretty rare. It's not unheard of among two countries - 25 years of cooperation. How do you think this agreement can withstand the change of administrations and also the change of the circumstances in global politics?

Ambassador Keshavarzzadeh: The view of the political leader of two countries is to improve. It doesn't matter how the world environment is changing. The Comprehensive Cooperation Plan between Iran and China, which I think, is a great job. I'm very glad and proud it happened during my mission here. We worked very hard on that, and it's very important. It touched different areas.

I think this Cooperation Plan to 25 years is like a road map for both countries to be arranged to public relations, because we are Iran and China. That's in mind to improve our relation, to use the opportunities and potential between two countries. We can use for the benefit of our peoples. The Chinese and the Iranian people benefit from this kind of relation. This belongs to Iran and China, no other third party can interfere in that.

Wang Guan: Talking about JCPOA, it is an issue of grave concern around the world. Recently, Chinese State Counselor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the U.S. should lift all unilateral sanctions against Iran in order to revive JCPOA. Where do you think JCPOA is right now from the Iranian perspective? Are you still hopeful that they can be renewed or revived in the foreseeable future?

Ambassador Keshavarzzadeh: We are still in JCPOA. The previous U.S. administration, they decided to withdraw from JCPOA. They caused a lot of problems for us, imposing the sanctions on Iran. When they wanted to return to the JCPOA, they should somehow compensate on what they have done. We didn't violate the JCPOA. They verified the report by the IAEA, which Iran is complying with our commitment. We didn't violate the accord. The United States withdrew. The door is open for them to return. Frankly speaking, it's not possible for a country when you decide to go out and you decide to come in. This is nonsense. They should somehow continue their stance if they wanted to return to JCPOA to comply. What they have done is damage to Iranian people.

Interviewer: Wang Guan

Managing editor: Xiong Tong

Video editor: Feng Ran

Videographer: Zuo Yue, Guo Yuanheng, Li Qiushi, Li Tianqi

Senior producer: Zhang Peijin

Supervisor: Mei Yan

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