Zarif wrote an article for The People’s Daily on Tuesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Iran and the People’s Republic of China.
“Tehran-Beijing relations have developed significantly in the past half a century, with bilateral ties being constantly on the rise and cooperation in various fields turning Iran and China into reliable partners [for one another],” he wrote.
Zarif also noted that exchanges between Iran and China have a long history and that the two states maintain their trade and cultural ties through the ancient Silk Road.
Both countries, he added, are committed to a politically independent foreign policy, pursue economic cooperation and support each other in different international issues.
“In January 2016, Iran-China relations were upgraded to the level of strategic partnership. The leaders of the two countries have repeatedly stressed that changes on the international scene will not affect friendly relations between them,” the top Iranian diplomat wrote.
“Iran-China relations have withstood the test of time, especially in the difficult time of the coronavirus pandemic… The two countries have unconditionally backed each other in various fields and achieved useful results,” he added.
Zarif further expressed hope that Iran would play a greater role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure development strategy to link Asia, Europe and beyond.
“Undoubtedly, the development of Iran-China relations — which is based on mutual respect for [mutual] sovereignty and independence as well as their different social systems — is a win-win cooperation. It will also turn into a huge source of power for mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries in the future,” he emphasized.
Over the past 50 years, Zarif wrote, China has become an important power in the global economy and the international political arena, while Iran has emerged as a significant power in West Asia.
“Iran and China need more than ever to strengthen bilateral relations to create a new kind of partnership,” he added. “Although there are opportunities and challenges in the development process, we will never forget the friends who supported us in difficult times.”
In recent years, Tehran and Beijing have been working to finalize the Sino-Iranian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which was announced in a joint statement during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tehran in 2016.
The cooperation roadmap consists of 20 articles, covering Tehran-Beijing ties in “Political,” “Executive Cooperation,” “Human and Cultural,” “Judiciary, Security and Defense,” and “Regional and International” domains, according to the statement released back then.