(Bloomberg) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on the U.S. to take responsibility for withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, as Beijing seeks an expanded role in current negotiations. 

Wang Yi told Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian that the U.S. should assume the “main responsibility” and “correct its mistake” of backing away from the nuclear deal as soon as possible, according to a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry, reiterating China’s position that the U.S. should move first to revive the 2015 agreement.

“China firmly opposes the illegal unilateral sanctions against Iran, opposes using human rights and other issues as an excuse for political manipulation, and opposes gross interference in the internal affairs of Iran and other regional countries,” Wang said during a meeting in China’s Jiangsu province on Friday. 

Amirabdollahian thanked China for its “constructive role” in ongoing nuclear negotiations and said Iran is willing to “jointly oppose bullying and unilateral sanctions” and become a “reliable, long-term cooperative partner,” according to the statement. 

China is seeking to raise its profile in the oil-rich region, with Wang Yi hosting a number of foreign ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council in the past week. China and Iran officially launched the implementation phase of a 25-year bilateral agreement designed to enable billions of dollars of investment in the Persian Gulf country on Friday. 

The two sides also exchanged views on the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan, according to the statement. China proposed setting up a dialogue platform in the Gulf to discuss regional security concerns.

Amirabdollahian said that developing relations with China is Iran’s “highest policy decision” and that Iran looks forward to learning from China’s development experience and advanced technology, according to the Chinese statement. He added the Iranian side will attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games in February. 

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