TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed what he called “serious and friendly” negotiations with Chinese officials during a short trip to Beijing, saying the two countries enjoy strategic relations that are not influenced by outsiders.

Speaking to reporters before leaving Beijing for Moscow, the top Iranian diplomat said more talks planned to be held with China within the next few days would be “very significant and could pave the way for broader cooperation between the two countries in all circumstances.”

Pointing to the “serious and friendly” negotiations during his 8-hour stay in Beijing, Zarif said China insists on strategic and inclusive relations with Iran, as agreed upon by the presidents of the two countries.

“The ties (with China) would not be influenced by external factors,” Zarif underlined.

On the talks about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Zarif said Iran and China share the view that Tehran’s interests should be protected if the nuclear deal is to survive after the US withdrawal.

“We (Iran and China) have agreed to launch close cooperation in the coming days and weeks for achieving concrete methods for guaranteeing Iran’s interests,” Zarif added.

China, Iran’s major trade partner and a member of the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany), could play a major role in strengthening the international consensus on saving the JCPOA, the top Iranian diplomat went on to say.

Zarif arrived in Moscow early Monday. He will later go to Brussels for intensive talks with the European parties to the JCPOA on the possibility of preserving the accord in a way that the Iranian nation’s interests are guaranteed.

In a speech from the White House on May 8, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear deal, which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after around two years of negotiations.

On May 9, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei urged that any decision to keep the deal running without the US should be conditional on “practical guarantees” from the three European parties to the JCPOA.