Iran, China ink $4 bn in infrastructure deals
Iran and China on Saturday signed a series of agreements worth $4 billion (2.8 billion euros) for infrastructure projects as part of a broader bid to boost trade volume between the two nations, Iranian state media reported.
The bilateral agreements span cooperation in water, mining, energy and industrial sectors.
As part of a $500 million (354 million euros) deal, China agreed to provide Iran with 60 energy recovery incinerators, which are to be installed within a year in major cities and in Iran's northern tourism hub along the Caspian sea.
China also pledged to boosts its imports of Iranian mineral products, state TV reported.
Iran's Vice President Mohammad Javad Mohammadi–Zadeh told the television that China was Iran's leading economic partner, with last year's trade volume reaching $30 billion (21 billion euros).
The agreements were signed during a visit by He Guoqiang, a senior executive of the Chinese Communist Party, who heads a delegation visiting Iran. He was received by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"The main objective is to quickly bring our economic and trade exchanges to $100 billion," Ahmadinejad said during Saturday's meeting, according to his website.
"China, with a strategic vision, wants to strengthen its cooperation with Iran, because it is in the interest of both nations as well as regional countries," He Guoqiang was quoted as saying by the website.
China's ambassador to Tehran told IRNA recently that bilateral trade would reach $40 billion (28 billion euros) this year.
China and Iran have become major economic partners in recent years, partly thanks to the withdrawal of Western companies in line with sanctions against the Islamic republic over its contentious nuclear drive.
Beijing, which now buys about 20 percent of Iranian crude, opposes the policy of the United States and its European allies seeking to strengthen UN sanctions against Iran, which they believe is seeking nuclear weapons.
Tehran denies this, saying its nuclear programme is purely for peaceful objectives.
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