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People's Daily Online>>Foreign Affairs

Ahmadinejad to visit China

By Chen Ping, Wang Wen in Tehran, Zhu Shanshan (Global Times)

08:24, February 14, 2012

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will travel to Beijing by mid-March, officials in Tehran said Monday, with analysts saying the trip will aim to secure oil exports to China amid a fresh wave of Western sanctions.

Ramin Mehmanparast, a spokesman for Iran's foreign ministry, told the Global Times that Ahmadinejad would visit China soon along with a high-level delegation.

Key topics will include economic cooperation and political issues, including wider-ranging Middle East matters, Mehmanparast said.

His words echoed earlier remarks by Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, who said Ahmadinejad would visit China before the end of the Iranian calendar year on March 19 at the invitation of the Chinese leadership.

Ahmadinejad's trip to China would come after visits to Beijing by Western leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who sought to persuade China to join in sanctions against Iran.

The EU reached an agreement last month to ban Iranian oil imports starting from July and freeze the assets of Iran's central bank on its territory. US President Barack Obama last week ordered a freeze on property and assets belonging to the Iranian government, its central bank and all Iranian financial institutions.

By declining to join in the sanctions, China insisted that talks are the only way to resolve nuclear disputes with Iran.

Mohammad Kermani, a professor with Iran's Institute for Political and International Studies, told the Global Times that through Ahmadinejad's trip, Iran seeks to deepen strategic and political cooperation with China.

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