President Raisi: Iran and China share a deep friendship

In this episode of the CGTN series Leaders Talk, Wang Guan goes to Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guest House to interview Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during his recent visit to China.

The Iranian President notes that the two countries share a deep friendship, both being ancient Asian civilisations with rich histories and now sharing common positions and interests. China and Iran, he notes, both believe in maintaining independence, but some countries do not want to see them grow stronger. However, their mutual cooperation is increasing, whether in the fields of economy and trade, or through joint participation in such multilateral bodies as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which Iran recently joined as a full member. President Raisi’s meeting with President Xi Jinping was their second in six months, following the SCO Summit in the Uzbek city of Samarkand.

The interview devotes considerable attention to the United States’ illegal and unilateral sanctions against Iran. These were not eased even during the worst days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Raisi describes the sanctions as “incredibly cruel”, with no fundamental difference from outright military aggression. With essential medicines, for example those needed by cancer patients, and Covid-19 vaccines, embargoed, Iran has successfully developed its own vaccines, both in cooperation with other countries and independently, and has now become a net exporter. Seventy per cent of Iranians have been vaccinated, with help from China playing a crucial role. Noting that Iran has been under US sanctions for over four decades, and under eight US Presidents, Raisi notes that they expected the Iranian government to fall, but they are the ones who have departed one after another. Biden had claimed to oppose Trump’s Iran policy, but his own policy once in office has proved to be no different.

The Iranian leader expresses strong support for Xi Jinping’s signature policies of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) and the Global Security Initiative (GSI), which he sees as necessary due to the fact that US hegemony and its cronies are responsible for wars and bloody conflicts around the world. Some developed countries, he says, only pay lip service to promoting development while oppressing people in other countries and even their own people. China makes commendable and determined efforts to lift all people out of poverty while in some other countries only two or three per cent of the people benefit from government policies.

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