Tehran jumps on new Silk Road as Iran and China sign $600bn pact

Iran and China: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei  called for closer economic and security ties with China this weekend as the two countries agreed to increase bilateral trade more than 10-fold to $600bn over the next  ten years. Iran wanted to expand ties with “more independent countries”, adding that the United States was “not honest” in the fight against terrorism in the region, the Islamic Republic’s most powerful figure told Chinese President Xi Jinping as he became the second world leader after President Putin to visit the Iranian capital since it became likely that sanctions were to be lifted. The two men signed 17 accords, including  agreements to  cooperate in the development of nuclear energy and of the One Belt One Road initiative, China’s drive to revive the ancient Silk Road trade route.
“China is still heavily dependent on Iran for its energy imports and Russia needs Iran in terms of its new security architecture vision for the Middle East,” said Ellie Geranmayeh, policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “Iran plays quite an integral role for both China and Russia’s interests within the region, much more than it does for the Europeans.” 

Source: reuters