Mohammad Hossein Malaek said in an exclusive interview with ILNA news agency that this agreement was proposed during the 2015 visit of President Xi Jinping to Iran, to expand cooperation between the two countries in the framework of the new Silk Road project.
“But because Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) was signed at that time, Iran had other alternatives, such as cooperation with Europe, so the offer failed to materialize.”
He added that after Trump's inauguration, Iran again decided to have long-term cooperation with China to enhance the unity of the two countries and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif presented it to Chinese authorities during his visit to Beijing.
Answering to the question about what is the range of cooperation between China and Iran under this agreement, Malaek said “Naturally, our economic power is in the oil and gas industry, so it is not unreasonable to expect this game to take place in this area, so the focus is on the energy sector.”
“Of course, this agreement cannot be a stimulus for Europe for the prosperity of the INSTEX, and the Europeans are well aware of Iran's economic power,” Iran's former ambassador confirmed.
Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says, "The Iranian nation will not recognize a new secret 25-year agreement between Iran and China," and warned that any contract signed with a foreign country without the people knowing about it will be void.
President Hassan Rouhani said at the meeting that the primary purpose of this plan is to promote bilateral strategic cooperation at regional and international levels using a win-win approach.
"This plan prepares the ground for Iran-China collaboration in key projects and infrastructural development, including the great Belt and Road Initiative. It is an opportunity to attract investment in different economic sectors such as industry, tourism, information technology, and communications," he said.
Belt and Road is a global development strategy promoted by the Chinese government.
However, Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in Tehran last week that "there is no contract," and that he simply is going to talk about bilateral cooperation with China.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Monday denied “reports about the 25-year contract with China” but did not say what it exactly he is denying is. However, he added that “the document is a source for pride and secures the interests of both nations.”