China will develop friendly cooperation with Iran to promote China-Iran comprehensive strategic partnership for new development, state-owned news channel CGTN reported, citing President Xi Jinping.

He added that Beijing will continue to jointly build the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation with Iran, aiming to step up interconnectivity and expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is on his first state visit to China, which has remained Iran's biggest trading partner for years.

Bilateral trade volume between China and Iran reached $11.16 billion between January and August 2022, a 19 percent year-on-year increase.

China's exports to Iran stood at $6.214 billion, up 24 percent year-on-year, while imports were at $4.946 billion, 14 percent higher year-on-year during the same period.

Last year, the two countries jointly announced the launch of the implementation of the 25-year comprehensive cooperation plan, agreeing to step up cooperation on energy, infrastructure, production capacity, science and technology, and medical and health care.

The two leaders vowed to implement the Iran-China Comprehensive Cooperation Plan and called for strengthened cooperation in various fields, such as trade, infrastructure and agriculture.

Raisi also called for Chinese enterprises to visit Iran for investment and business, expecting more Chinese tourists to visit Iran.

Supporting and actively participating in the BRI, the Global Development Initiative (GDI), and the Global Security Initiative proposed by China, Raisi said Iran will maintain good cooperation with organisations, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO).

On 7 February 2023, Raisi had issued an order for implementing the law on Iran's membership in the SCO.

(Writing by P Deol; Editing by Anoop Menon)