On the margins of the UNGA on September 28, 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, and pledged to further boost bilateral cooperation. Thanks to the implementation of the comprehensive Iran nuclear deal agreed in July, “Iran will have ever more opportunity for foreign cooperation, and Sino-Iran ties will face a new development opportunity,” China’s Foreign Ministry said. As the biggest importer of Iranian oil, Xi said, China will “prioritize energy and financial cooperation.”
From a geopolitical viewpoint and with a view to reviving the Silk Road, China is also interested in deepening cooperation with Iran within multilateral frameworks like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in which India and Pakistan are expected to switch from observers (like Iran’s today) to full members status next year. By retaking a normal status on the international scene, Iran will likely become again a vital hub connecting Central Asia to the Middle East. Xi will make an official trip to Iran in the next few months.