On Saturday, the Chinese and Iranian foreign ministers signed a 25-year strategic cooperation deal which will reportedly lead to China investing around $400 billion in Iran in exchange for oil as part of the agreement.
China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that “relations between the two countries have now reached the level of strategic partnership and China seeks to comprehensively improve relations with Iran”.
The agreement is expected to lead to increased military cooperation, as well as Chinese investment in sectors including energy and infrastructure.
An Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson said the agreement was a “roadmap” for trade, economic and transportation cooperation, with a “special focus on the private sectors of the two sides”.
The New York Times reported that a draft version of the agreement covered a range of fields including finance, telecommunications and transport.
The draft called for joint military training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence-sharing, according to the report.
The agreement may undermine efforts by US President Joe Biden to negotiate a wider nuclear accord with Iran which would limit Iranian missile production and destabilising regional activities.
Iran has refused to engage in negotiations and said it will not return to compliance with the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) nuclear agreement until the US lifts sanctions imposed by former President Donald Trump in 2018.