Aug 26, 2019, 2:54 PM
Journalist ID: 2078
News Code: 83452070
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Iran's FM Zarif on Asian mission to secure continent's big powers' support

Tehran, August 26, IRNA- Iran is increasing its regional shuttle diplomacy to foster better political and economic relations with Asia’s rising dragon China as well as Asia’s big powerhouse Japan. 

Leading a large delegation, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived on Monday in Beijing to hold talks with senior Chinese authorities in a bid to consolidate Tehran’s ties with Asia’s number one economic power. 

Zarif’s visit comes after Chinese President Xi Jinping met and held talks with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, whose annual summit was held in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, in June. 

Also, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe paid a historic visit to Iran in June and held talks with senior Iranian authorities such as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, as well as President Rouhani. 

Zarif’s Asian tour has taken him to China and later to Japan and Malaysia. 

His visit comes amid the backdrop that many world countries have refused to give in to the US pressure and end their commercial ties with Iran. 

They come amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormuz, where the US has been trying to assemble a coalition of countries to escort oil tankers passing through the narrow body of water. 

China and Japan have both rejected the US proposal, avoiding escalation of tensions in the Strait of Hormuz. 

So, it’s a good time for Iran to rally their support behind itself and strengthen its relations in all aspects. 

Tehran, Beijing and Tokyo also share same political visions about the conflicts in the Middle East, such as Yemen and Syria as well the situation with North Korea. 

The three have many points to discuss such as the nuclear deal, global efforts to stand up against the US, Chinese nuclear cooperation with Iran as well as Beijing and Tokyo’s economic activities in Iran’s economy such as oil and gas infrastructure. 

The Iranian foreign minister has head for Asia after a tour of two important Persian Gulf countries, Qatar and Kuwait, as well as trips to three Scandinavian countries Finland, Sweden and Norway as well a visit to France to hold talks with high-level French officials. 

China and Japan are two of the top three world economies which depend very much on the Mideast oil, especially Iran. 

30% of China’s crude comes from the Middle East while up to 90% of Japan’s oil is supplied from the area, according to official data. 

Although the two countries’ major export item from Iran is oil but that’s not all. They have good cooperation in various environmental, industrial, technical and educational aspects. 

Iran in One Belt, One Road
Iran’s strategic location makes it have a great position in China’s New Silk Road project, also known as One Belt One Road. That’s why Xi Jinping considers Iran an important country from which many of the project’s routes pass. 

From north to the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus and from south to the Persian Gulf and Arab countries, from west to Turkey and Europe make Iran the perfect transport hub of the region. Also, Iran is one of the most secure countries in the Middle East. 

One of the points on Zarif’s agenda is Iran’s role in details and the financing of the mega infrastructure projects. 

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)  
The US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal made Iran forge closer ties with China and Japan, who both blame the US for all the problems caused in the region after its withdrawal. 

Iran’s FM will certainly discuss the JCPOA and its current status with Chinese and Japanese officials, who are on good terms with the US and will talk with the US about ways to maintain the agreement. 

Trade partners
China is Iran’s first trade partner both in export and imports. Japan is the eighth destination of Iranian exports and besides that it imports much of its oil from the Persian Gulf, that’s why it needs to have closer relations with Iran. 

China and Japan are also fighting the US on another front and that is a huge trade war that doesn’t seem to end soon. 

So, if the three countries join ranks, they can weathers the current and future storms much better. 


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