Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called for closer economic and security ties with China, saying Iran had never trusted the West, as the two countries agreed to improve their bilateral ties by signing a "comprehensive strategic partnership" following the lifting of international sanctions on Iran.
Khanmenei told Chinese President Xi Jinping during his vist to Tehran that Iran wanted to expand ties with "more independent countries," adding the United States was "not honest" in the fight against terrorism in the region.
"Iranians never trusted the West... That's why Tehran seeks cooperation with more independent countries [like China]," he said.
"Iran is the most reliable country in the region for energy since its energy policies will never be affected by foreigners," Khamenei was quoted by his official website as saying at a meeting with Xi.
Earlier in the day, Xi and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani made an announcement on a new agreement between the two countries.
"We are happy that President Xi visited Iran after the lifting of sanctions ... Iran and China have agreed to increase trade to $600 billion in the next 10 years," Rouhani said at the news conference with Xi broadcast live on the state television.
Xi said he is seeking to improve "strategic ties with Iran" especially in the energy sector.
Xi is the first Chinese president to visit Iran in 14 years. The last such visit to Iran was by President Jiang Zemin in 2002.
Iran is the last stop of Xi’s Middle East tour after Saudi Arabia and Egypt.