President Hassan Rouhani met with his Russian and Chinese counterparts in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on September 12 and 13. Rouhani’s visit to the Kyrgyz capital for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit was his first official trip abroad since taking office in August.
Rouhani discussed the Syrian crisis in his first meetings with President Vladimir Putin and President Xi Jinping. Russia, Iran and China are three of the Syrian regime’s most important backers. Tehran and Beijing have both supported Moscow's initiative to transfer Syria's chemical weapons to international control.
Iran is key to Russian and Chinese interests in the Middle East. Putin and Xi both reiterated their strong support for Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy in their meetings with Rouhani. Rouhani and Putin agreed that they could do much more to promote bilateral trade and economic relations. Beijing, on the other hand, has been increasing trade and cooperation with Tehran. China has remained one of Iran’s biggest oil customers despite reducing its purchases to avoid U.S. sanctions. The following are excerpted remarks by the three presidents.
“Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, we want the swiftest solution to it within international norms.
“Russia in the past has taken important steps in this sphere and now is the best opportunity for new steps from your side.
“I declare that only if there is political will, if there is mutual respect and mutual interest, and only if the rights of Iran's people are ensured, can we guarantee the peaceful character of Iran's nuclear program.
Sept. 13 in a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin
“These sanctions are an uncivilized move and a dangerous precedent [and they are] aimed at disrupting the trend of Iran’s development [and have] targeted the ordinary and innocent [Iranian] citizens mercilessly.
Iran is committed to the Non-proliferation Treaty based on its “legal commitments, religious and moral tenets and strategic considerations.”
The Islamic Republic insists on the “inalienable right of all NPT member states to enjoy peaceful nuclear technology.”
Sept. 13, 2013 in a speech to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
“Iran–China ties have always been based on friendship, and are growing.
“Iran and China have common stances in most of the regional and international issues. Iran is prepared to begin cooperation and effective and constructive action with China in regional matters, particularly in resolving the Syrian crisis.”