Iran and China economic and security partnership is very significant and beneficial to both China and Iran. It marks a new phase in constructing a reciprocal strategic partnership between the two countries that is more wide-ranging and deep-going than the existing relationship of cooperation between China and Iran. The agreement features more extensive and robust cooperation on energy, infrastructure, telecommunication, finance, and security, all belonging in the areas of vital national interests of both countries. China promises to invest up to US$400 billion in the next 25 years in the aforementioned sectors in exchange for a stable and steady Iranian oil supply at a favorable price. In light of this, the new partnership can also be considered as an upgraded and more comprehensive version of cooperative relationship between the two nations.
It is a win-win package for the two sides and realistically the best deal Iran could expect to get from overseas under the draconian sanctions imposed by the US and the West in general. If both China and Iran faithfully adhere to the agreement and carry out their promised obligations in earnest, the new partnership agreement, with its enormous economic and other benefits, will help advance the core national interests of the two countries mutually and consolidate their respective strategic positions on the global stage effectively.
The 25-year agreement, once carried out successfully with good faith and consistency, will definitely help Iran and China strengthen their respective capacities and enhance their resilience against US policy of pressure and containment, and greatly enable Iran to better stand up against the actions of the Trump administration to intimidate, interfere, and undermine Iran’s national sovereignty and security and ease the gravely deleterious and pernicious effects brought by the US sanctions on Iran’s economy and the wellbeing of the Iranian people.
Trump intends to weaken and isolate China mainly because he and his followers have come to perceive China factually as the foremost surging strategic challenger and adversary to the US hegemony in the world; while his perception of and actions against Iran have predominantly been shaped by the hardcore pro-Israeli stance of Trump, his close aids inside the higher echelons of US political circles, and his largely evangelical supporters in US society over whom the Jewish lobbies hold a huge political clout and sway. Such hardline and irrational stance on the part of Trump and his cohorts and the resultant policy-making will certainly and grievously harm the national interests of the US both economically and morally.
This agreement is a decisive and gigantic step forward for the two countries of China and Iran, which is about to usher in a new height and maturity of bilateral cooperation, bringing tremendous benefits to the two sides. The agreement stipulates closer cooperation in energy, infrastructure, economy and national security and entails about US$400 billion (RMB2.8 trillion) amount of Chinese investment to Iran in about 100 projects including port, railway, and airport construction, telecommunication networks, banking, and energy supply. The two countries are also poised to deepen their cooperation in the defense sector, such as conducting more joint military training and maneuvers, jointly developing weaponries, and sharing military intelligence and information. The agreement is based on the principles of mutual national interests, fairness, and reciprocity, and will help bolster and advance the strategic national interests of both countries.
It is reported that some scholars or specialists as well as former political leaders in Iran alleged that the deal is tantamount to putting Iran on sale to China as the Iranian oil export to China under the agreement is supposed to be cheaper than normal. But as a former senior Iranian diplomat has aptly observed, oil export amounts to the “lifeline” for Iran’s economy and under the current circumstances, due to the stringent sanctions imposed by the US and the West, all the paths were obstructed except the path to China. Therefore, at least until the lift of the sanctions, this agreement with China can be reasonably regarded as the optimal choice for Iran.
That said, it is also undeniable that judging from the actual contents of commitment by China and Iran, they do seem to be more or less lopsided and unbalanced in that while China will invest and assist Iran in multiple fields of modern industries, what the Iranian side offers seems glaringly monotonous, that is, only the oil export. Admittedly China leads Iran on economic and industrial development, but such contrast and comparison of mutual participations as reflected in the agreement still seem too one-sided to be genuinely salutary or wholesome to Iran. Here are two advices from your humble writer to offset or alleviate the imbalance through diversifying and enriching Iran’s field in its cooperation with China and enlisting China’s expertise to help Iran develop its own industrial and technological strengths in a long run:
First, Iran shall be encouraged to export goods besides oil to China and to invest and set up enterprises or joint ventures in China to produce and sell goods in areas of Iran’s advantage or specialty such as light industries including textiles, utensils, ornaments, and others that reflect Iran’s rich Persian cultural and historical features and strongly appeal to the Chinese consumers. China should actively admit them into China and make effort to promote their productions and sales in its domestic market.
Second, Iran shall send its engineers, technicians, and workers to China to learn modern industrial technologies and management skills from their Chinese counterparts in a continuous and systematic way. China should actively cooperate by arranging such study tours and setting up specific training centers besides existing corporations and factories to accommodate the Iranian trainees and ensure they learn and master important industrial and managerial expertise and knowhows. China should also dispatch its own experts and technician teams regularly to Iran to teach and conduct active and fruitful exchanges with their Iranian counterparts in a joint effort to help develop and invigorate Iran’s industries and technologies.
There are several factors that speak for the important role of Iran in China’s foreign policy and global strategy: First, Iran is a major regional power in West Asia in terms of geographic size, population, energy resources, and other factors of national strength. Iran has also long been a main oil exporter to China; second, Iran is located in the far west wing of China and is considered as in a gatekeeping position to China in a geopolitical and geostrategic sense, whose stability and wellbeing are deemed to be of great significance in safeguarding the strategic security and stability of West China; third, Iran is antagonized to the US and friendly to both China and Russia while the latter two, especially China, is being increasingly viewed as the foremost adversary and challenger by the US in recent years, which means Iran and China face a common foe and have natural and common geopolitical interest in forming a close alliance to counter the US and this fact gives Iran ever more important status in China’s foreign policy.
Given significant geographic location of Iran that makes it a nexus in the corridor of China’s BRI grand scheme, Iran is for China an irreplaceable partner that must be won over to its side. Iran is expected to play a role as a major trading partner, cooperator, and recipient of China’s surplus industrial capacity and technological transfers.
I think such propaganda campaign from the mainstream Western media that are extremely inimical to and feverishly demonize the strategic Iran-China partnership is all too predictable and hardly avoidable. Mainstream media in the West especially in the US have ample reasons to vilify Iran-China relations from their vested interests as they are tightly in the grip of the aggressive and warmongering neocon military-industrial complex and pro-Israeli Jewish lobbies. As explicated before, the political-military-media establishment in the US is inveterately against Iran and China respectively for different reasons in that Iran is viewed as a “radical Islamic terrorist state” irreconcilably opposed to Israel’s regional hegemony, and China is viewed as a “rising nationalist state with global ambitions” and a “cardinal challenger to the West dominated world order” in the distortion mirror by which the Western media look at world affairs. Thus it is natural that they detest and fear the scenario that the two major enemies in the eyes of the US i.e. Iran and China join hands to form a strong and vibrant alliance to counter and resist the Western political and economic domination and value-based interferences.
Iran and China should remain unperturbed and undistracted by the cacophony from the Western media and stick to their agreement for strategic alliance in good faith and perseverance. The two countries should make their utmost sincere and concrete efforts to fully implement the articles in the partnership agreement in a spirit of mutual benefits and common defense against the Western interference and antagonism. Iran should also astutely discern and exploit the fragmented and factionalized domestic situation of the US and other Western countries today, which are unique to the decayed and chaotic post-modern Western societies, to its own advantage by vigorously carrying out its own PR and propaganda campaign on the US and other Western countries.
The power and influence of Jewish diaspora in the US has reached their apogee at present, which is the primary factor driving and fueling the hostile and hateful US policy in the last several decades to isolate and strangle Iran. It is observed that the Jewish power in the US are behind many complex and severe problems in US society today, such as radicalized and institutionalized leftism and anti-traditionalism, which has led to increasing polarization of US society, dispossession of White people, and anti-White censorship and persecution, as exemplified by the latest BLM and Antifa riots that will inevitably create strong backlashes from the White majority in a long run. Iran should wisely leverage such widening schism and instability in the US to its own advantage by supporting and coopting forces and their intellectual outposts opposing the Zionist neocon interventionism, such as Institute for Historical Review (IHR), Barnes Review, Counter-Currents and all healthy and friendly White nationalist voices under the banners of non-interventionism, traditionalism, and Pan-Aryanism and stressing and conveying the goodwill and innocuity of Shia Islam vis-à-vis the terrorism-exporting Sunni sect of anti-Iranian Saudi Arabia in order to drive a wedge in the US society and sway US public opinion to sympathize with Iran as much as possible. In summary, besides forming closer economic ties with China to cushion against and offset the US economic stranglehold, Iran also needs to make more self-initiated efforts on such fields as PR and intelligence and vigorously strive to promote a favorable image and understanding of Iran in the factions of US society that are distrustful and wary of the official US Iran policy.
Deepening China-Iran ties challenge US hegemony is arguably a factual statement. China is the second largest national economy in the world and possesses vaulting ambitions and goals commensurate with its economic power. Iran is a major regional power in the West Asia with vast potentials in consideration of its large geographic expanse, huge natural resources, and a young and vibrant population. Both countries are now held in deep suspicion and animosity by the US. Thus if a deepening China-Iran relations is alleged to challenge US hegemony, so be it. The point is that both China and Iran have their natural and legitimate rights to develop themselves as sovereign nation and the US global hegemony is unjust and abusive in many aspects, especially in West Asia in that the US has chosen to needlessly and willfully antagonize itself with Iran for many decades from its own hubris, ignorance, and prejudice and based on spurious and specious claims about Iran’s non-existent “menace” to the US while it kept groveling to and shoring up Israel to be the arrogant, unconscionable, and swashbuckling regional hegemon and siding with the devious, corrupt, and terrorism-exporting Saudi Arabia to unjustly isolate, revile and contain Iran and trample on Iran’s legitimate rights for self-defense and self-development.
Like all other nations, Iran has every right to defend itself, build on its national strength, maintain its national security, and strive for its people’s welfare for all the mounting pressure and sanctions from the US. If that means Iran chooses to gravitate further toward China and ally itself with the latter based on shared national interests in order to find a way out and free itself from the straitjacket imposed by US, who on earth is there to make irresponsible speculations or carping comments? After all, were US hegemony a bit more benign, or had the US not pressed so hard and viciously against Iran, Iran would certainly respond with sincere and conciliatory messages. The crux remains if the US would move to change its irrationally and unreasonably hostile and antagonistic stance toward Iran, which, unfortunately, seems highly unlikely at present (hence Iran’s cooperation with China), though working toward that state of sanity in a long run is worth trying by both Iran and enlightened element in the US.