September 11, 2015 / 9:33 AM / 4 years ago

Iran's foreign minister to visit China to discuss nuclear deal

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a news conference after a meeting with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia, August 17, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev

BEIJING (Reuters) - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit Beijing next week to discuss Iran’s nuclear agreement and efforts to boost ties with China, China’s foreign ministry said on Friday.

China and Iran have close diplomatic, economic, trade and energy ties, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has been active in pushing both the United States and Iran to reach agreement on the nuclear issue.

China had long railed against unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and Europe, though it has supported U.N. ones, and had denounced threats of force.

Zarif will travel to China on Sept. 15 at the invitation of Wang, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a news conference.

News of the visit came a day after a Republican-backed effort to kill the Iran nuclear agreement was narrowly blocked in the U.S. Senate, clearing the way for its implementation.

Under the deal, agreed in July, sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union and United Nations will be lifted in return for Iran agreeing to long-term curbs on a nuclear program that the West has suspected was aimed at creating a nuclear bomb.

In July, Chinese President Xi Jinping told U.S. President Barack Obama that China would work with the United States and others to ensure the implementation of the agreement.

Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee; Editing by Robert Birsel

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