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China to host Iran to avoid project interruptions that raise doubts about the nuclear deal



PEKING (Reuters) – Next month, China will greet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at a regional summit meeting to avoid disruption to joint projects, the Foreign Ministry said on Monday, when the major powers sought to save the Iranian nuclear deal.

FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, on February 1
5, 2018. REUTERS / Danish Siddiqui / archival photo

Rohani will make a working visit to China and attend the summit of the China-Russia Security Block of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, according to the ministry.

There were no exact dates for his visit, but the summit is scheduled for the second weekend in June in the northern Chinese city of Qingdao.

Iran is currently an observer member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, although it has been looking for a long time for full membership.

"We hope that China and Iran will hold close consultations on the basis of monitoring the agreement and promoting bilateral cooperation," said Chinese Foreign Minister Zhang Hanhui at a press conference.

"We should explore together how to avoid major disruptions to joint projects between the two sides," he added.

Russia has previously argued that western sanctions against Tehran could finally become a member of the bloc, which also includes four formerly Soviet Central Asian republics, Pakistan and India.

The agreement between Iran and the world powers of 2015 lifted the international sanctions against Tehran. In return, Iran agreed to the limitations of its nuclear activities and extended the time it would take to produce a nuclear bomb if it did so.

With US President Donald Trump pulling out of the US this month, calling the deal profoundly flawed, European states have been struggling to ensure that Iran has enough economic benefits to persuade it to do so.

China has also strongly supported the agreement and is one of the signatories.

Reporting by Christian Shepherd; Writing by Ben Blanchard; Arrangement by Michael Perry


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