18:30 GMT23 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Tehran and Beijing have agreed on a 25-year comprehensive cooperation plan in energy, oil and gas sectors, and Iran is ready to sign the agreement, Iranian Petroleum Minister Bijan Zangeneh told reporters on Monday.

    "[Iran and China will have a] long-term cooperation in the development of gas and oil fields as well as petrochemical and refining industries", Zangeneh said, as quoted by Radio Farda.

    In addition, the minister refuted media reports which assumed that the deal envisioned concessions to China, and said that the cooperation plan was of equal interest to both countries.

    Zangeneh added that Tehran was ready to sing similar deals with other countries.

    On 21 June, Iran’s cabinet of ministers approved the final draft of the Tehran-Beijing cooperation road map. The Iranian parliament’s approval is also needed before the deal can be signed.

    The two countries have started to cooperate more in the sphere of crude exports since the US started to impose sanctions on the Islamic Republic in 2018, once Washington pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal. The United States has levied ever-toughening sanctions on Tehran as part of President Donald Trump’s campaign of so-called maximum pressure, which aimed, among other things to limit its oil exports.

    On 2 May 2019, the US sanctions went into full force and the State Department announced that any purchases of Iranian oil from that date on would be punished.

    However, China continued to purchase Iranian oil, and in August 2019 at least six Iranian tankers unloaded oil in Chinese ports, according to The New York Times.

    The United States is still urging China to completely halt oil imports from Iran, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said during a briefing on 20 February.

    According to the US State Department, despite the American sanctions against Iran, China continues to buy oil from the Islamic Republic.


    gas, Oil, cooperation, China, Iran
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