When we mention Iran, people tend to think of the exquisite Persian carpets and brilliant colorful miniatures.
Actually, Iran also played a role as an important connection of the ancient Silk Road between China and Europe, between the East and the West.
Friendly exchanges between China and Iran started thousands of years ago and never stopped afterwards. In the future, China-Iran friendship is believed to go further and deeper through the "Belt and Road" Initiative.
The initiative was proposed by the Chinese Government in 2013. It refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which envisages the linking of development strategies of countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Back to the 2nd century BC, the ancient silk road opened a business channel linking China to Europe. As an important country along the road, contacts between the two were established. Thousands of years afterwards, the friendship between China and Iran has become more and more solid.
In 1971, China and Iran established diplomatic ties and the dialogues and exchanges between the two sides have entered a new era.
With a series of high-level exchanges over the past decades, friendship and cooperation between the two countries have been further strengthened.
During that period, the two countries have attached great importance to exchanges between their peoples, a solid foundation for mutually beneficial cooperation.
It's believed that in the future the two countries will continue to maintain high-level exchanges and continuously enhance mutual trust, strengthen pragmatic cooperation and jointly safeguard regional peace and stability.
At the same time, bilateral economic and trade exchanges and cooperation have been continuously strengthened. In 1991, the trade volume between China and Iran was only $313 million, but after 20 years economic and trade cooperation has seen rapid development. In 2014, bilateral trade volume reached $50 billion.
Currently, nearly 100 Chinese companies are active in various sectors in Iran, such as infrastructure construction, high-tech, telecommunication, chemicals, petroleum and natural gas.
In July last year, a comprehensive agreement on the Iran's nuclear issue was reached, giving Iran an opportunity to experience faster development after the West lifting sanction on the country.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani noted last September in New York during a meeting there with Chinese President Xi Jinping that Iran cherishes friendly relations with China and, under the new situation, Iran is willing to work closely with China to deepen the strategic long-term cooperation in the areas of economy, trade and energy and push bilateral relations forward.
On the same occasion, President Xi stressed that China is willing to focus on promoting Iran's infrastructure projects and expand cooperation in railways, highways, automobile manufacturing, electricity, construction machinery, high-tech and environmental protection, with the priority to promoting energy and financial cooperation.
As the leaders pointed out, China is restructuring its economy while Iran is entering a new period of development. The belt and road initiative will serve as a bridge linking Iran's needs for foreign investment with China's demands to enlarge overseas market.
With such a solid foundation for win-win cooperation, people can believe that the initiative will help strengthen investment, trade and technological cooperation between Iran and China.
In addition, the initiative will bring about significant growth opportunities for the two countries so as to deepen traditional friendship between the Chinese and the Iranians and usher in a brighter future for their mutually beneficial cooperation.
(Xinhua News Agency January 18, 2016)