Iranian President Raisi begins visit to China

Iranian President Raisi begins visit to China

Raisi plans to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Beijing, with whom he has to sign a series of “cooperation documents,” Tehran said.

He will be accompanied on the visit by the head of the central bank and the ministers for trade, economy and oil.

Iran and China have strong economic ties, particularly in the areas of energy, transport, agriculture, trade and investment, and in 2021 they signed a “strategic cooperation pact”.

Both countries face Western pressure over their stance on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began almost a year ago.

Iran has become one of Moscow’s few remaining allies, facing increasing isolation after the invasion.

Western countries have accused Iran of selling armed drones to Russia for use in the war in Ukraine, an accusation Tehran denies.

Moscow’s offensive in Ukraine is a sensitive issue for Beijing, which has tried to position itself as neutral but has offered diplomatic support to its strategic ally Russia.

Raisi and Xi first met in Uzbekistan last September during the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, where the Iranian leader called for expanding ties.

According to Iran’s state news agency IRNA, Raisi will attend meetings with Chinese and Iranian businessmen based in China.

According to IRNA, China is Iran’s most important trading partner. Citing tariff figures, Iran exported $12.6 billion to China and imported $12.7 billion from its partner in the first 10 months of last year.