Iran’s Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, visited China to discuss a 25-year strategic partnership agreement between the two countries, with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Discussions between the diplomats included plans to cooperate on a COVID-19 vaccine and proposals to boost bilateral trade between Iran and China. During the visit, China’s Foreign Minister also proposed the creation of a new forum to ease tensions in the Middle East.

Beijing has voiced its support for the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, which it said would be a precondition for joining the peace-building platform.

Abdolnasser Hemmati, the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), has been appointed chairman of the Intergovernmental Group of Twenty-Four on International Monetary Affairs and Development, better known as G24, a body which works with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

G24, which receives secretariat services from the IMF, assists developing countries in financial negotiations by ensuring that their interests are represented in discussions on international monetary matters.

Iran has asked the IMF for a 5 billion dollar emergency loan, which the U.S. has said it will try to block. Jihad Azour, the director of IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, said the fund was gathering information from Iran in order to assess its request. Hemmati will serve as G24’s chairman, which is a rotating position, for 12 months.

And Iranian officials have denied banning women from nature reserves after it was claimed they had been prohibited from entering Iran’s parks during rutting season.

Dr. Isa Kalantari, the head of Iran’s Department for the Environment said  a group of park rangers in one province who had issued the guidance had acted on their own and that the directive had not been issued by the government.