EghtesadOnline: Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Farhad Dejpasand arrived in Beijing on Wednesday at the head of an economic delegation to attend an international conference on China's Belt and Road Initiative, which runs from Thursday to Saturday.
Nasser Seraj, the head of General Inspectorate Organization of Iran, and Gholamali Haddad-Adel, a member of Iran’s Expediency Council, are also accompanying the Iranian delegation to take part in the "Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation", along with representatives from 150 nations, including senior leaders of 40 countries.
The two-day forum is dedicated to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy project that aims to connect Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, IRNA reported.
Iran’s Ambassador to China Mohammad Keshavarz-Zadeh, in an interview with Beijing Daily, said Tehran supports the Belt and Road Initiative, Financial Tribune reported.
“Iran has strongly supported BRI and takes advantage of its unique capacities in the field of energy for providing energy security to China under BRI,” Keshavarz-Zadeh said in the interview.
“Both Iran and China have a long history of friendship and during the ancient Silk Road, the two countries had established a harmonious relationship based on mutual respect and common interests. We believe that China is moving in the right direction in promoting regional peace and stability."
The envoy noted that the Islamic Revolution in 1979 bestowed self-determination and independence on Iran, away from the western countries’ control.
“We praised BRI because it is in line with our belief in the necessity of equal sovereignty, mutual respect and win-win cooperation," he said.
Keshavarz-Zadeh noted that Iran, with the world’s fourth biggest oil resources and second biggest natural gas reserves, along with high capacity in petrochemical production, is a key global player in providing energy security and energy to China, which is essential for its continuous economic development and growth.
"Energy security cooperation is a critical section under BRI and we are happy to work with China in this area. We are an independent country, and our decision is made in Tehran, not in Washington, not in London, not anywhere else, so we can really support BRI in the energy sector which is irreplaceable and China can do more cooperation with Iran in this field," he said.
The ambassador noted that China has long been Iran's top trading partner and played an important role in Iran's economic development and industrialization.
"With the rising Chinese investment in Iran, exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in infrastructure, technology, finance and industry have prompted the establishment of a wide range of cooperative partnerships in various fields," he said.
"We hope for further expansion of our bilateral relationship under the framework of BRI in the future."
Keshavarz-Zadeh further said Iran has devised many projects in infrastructure construction in partnership with China and some of those will be implemented in the near future.
"Under BRI, infrastructure projects such as road construction can actually speed up bilateral relations," he said.
The Belt and Road Initiative, also known as One Belt, One Road, or Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, is a development strategy adopted by the Chinese government involving infrastructure development and investments in 152 countries and international organizations in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Latin America and Africa.
China’s President Xi Jinping originally announced the strategy during official visits to Indonesia and Kazakhstan in 2013.
“Belt” refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called Silk Road Economic Belt, whereas “road" refers to the sea routes, or 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
Until 2016, the initiative was officially known in English as the One Belt and One Road initiative, but the official name was changed as the Chinese government considered the emphasis on the word "one" as being prone to misinterpretation.
The Chinese government declared that the initiative is aimed at “enhancing regional connectivity and embracing a brighter future". Some observers consider it as a push for Chinese dominance in global affairs with a China-centered trading network.