September 24, 2015 / 5:18 AM / in 2 years

China offers Iran technical upgrades to boost economy

BEIJING (Reuters) - A senior Chinese official has offered Iran help with upgrading its manufacturing technology to boost its economy, saying that the two countries are good partners who have weathered many storms together, the government said on Thursday.

Zhang Yi, head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, is in Iran on a three-day trip as a special envoy of the Chinese government. The commission is a ministry-level body that directly oversees 112 central government industrial and service conglomerates.

In a statement on its Weibo microblog, the commission said that Zhang had met with Iranian and Chinese companies in Tehran on Wednesday, telling them that China was Iran’s best partner for infrastructure construction and manufacturing.

“Chinese companies can help the Iranian side to raise its manufacturing technology level, effecting upgrading and replacement,” the statement said.

“After decades of development, China is quite strong in manufacturing. Moreover, Sino-Iran cooperation is long-standing and well-established. Both have friendly cooperation and have weathered the storms together, which is a huge advantage,” it added.

“China is Iran’s most appropriate partner for economic development.”

China and Iran have close diplomatic, economic, trade and energy ties, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been active in pushing both the United States and Iran to reach agreement on the nuclear issue.

Last week, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran is ready to play host to more Chinese firms once sanctions against it are lifted.

Under the multilateral deal, agreed in July, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing to long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

China had long railed against unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and Europe, though it has supported U.N. ones, and had denounced threats of force.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Kim Coghill

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