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Iranian trade with China on the rise

China is focused on improving its economic ties with Iran as opposed to security cooperation.
Conservative and reformist newspapers in Tehran on Sept. 18, 2021.

Iranian state media today reported a significant increase in the Islamic Republic’s trade with China. 

Iranian exports to China rose 31% from January to June of 2022, reaching around $4.1 billion. Chinese exports to Iran also increased 16%, amounting to approximately $4.2 billion, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported

Why it matters: Iran’s relations with the People’s Republic have been improving for some time. Iran is currently seeking to join the so-called BRICS alliance featuring China, Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa. 

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited China most recently in March. 

Iran’s non-oil trade with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which China is a part, is also rising. 

Iran and China signed an economic cooperation agreement with China last year. 

In addition to the economic considerations, China is important to Iran because the Asian country was part of the Iranian nuclear deal. Iran may seek better military relations with China should the talks with the United States on reviving the agreement fail. 

Know more: Read economist Howard J. Shatz's memo for Al-Monitor PRO on China’s strategy vis-a-vis Iran and the Middle East, which prioritizes economic cooperation over security issues. 

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