Iran is a country contributing to China's strategic goals in Middle East | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

12 May, Wednesday


Iran is a country contributing to China's strategic goals in Middle East

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At the end of last week, Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi. They signed the 25-year comprehensive partnership agreement aiming at the strengthening of relations between two countries in a number of fields. The official ceremony for the signing of the document was held in Tehran.

The agreement is an important bilateral and multinational model in the history of diplomatic relations between Iran and China.

At the same time, it gets more attention to the geostrategic developments in the region.

While speaking in the press conference, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh praised the advantages of the document Iran and China will benefit

The development of such a document is a roadmap for the continuation of cooperation between Iran and China, and this document will bring the path of cooperation between the two countries closer," he said.

Clarifying the importance of new phase in Iran-China relations and its impacts on the developments in the region, Mehmet Koç, Turkish expert on Iranian studies, gave an exclusive interview to Eurasia Diary

No description available.

His research interests focus on modern Iranian society, constitutional structure of the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as wider domestic developments in this country. Koç has been working as the coordinator of domestic policy at IRAM since 2016.

- Mr Mehmet, do you think the document signed between Tehran and Beijing is aimed at expanding China's geostrategic clout in the Middle East?

- First of all, I would like to remind you that the document signed between the two countries is not only the agreement but also a Memorandum of Understanding. There are considerations that Tehran and Beijing will sign an additional agreement after the formation of a new government after the presidential elections. It is emphasized that this kind of macro agreement is usually signed at the presidential level.

Additionally, there is no doubt that Iran's geostrategic position, which is one of the crucial pillars of China's "One Belt One Road" project, will contribute to Beijing's strategic goals in the region of Asia. China will deepen its relations with Iran through this agreement. Thus, Beijing will gain the advantage to benefit from land and sea routes and take one more step to realize the project.

In addition, considering the common attitudes of Iran and China on the developments in the Middle East, we can assume that the regional cooperation of the two countries will increase. Iran's influence in regional countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Yemen will be a significant factor for China to implement its geostrategic policies in the Middle East in the near future. The comprehensive agreement between the two countries also includes the articles aiming at regional and international cooperation. In this sense, the agreement will contribute to China’s interests in the Middle East.

- Do you think that the 25-year comprehensive partnership agreement will lead up to the establishment of a China-Iran alliance or pushing Iran under the influence of East Asian Power?

- According to the content of the agreement, it benefits both sides. Of course, the stronger side will enjoy more. However, it would be wrong to interpret this situation as Iran would turn into a colony of China. Due to the sanctions, Tehran has long had difficulties in renovating its oil and gas facilities, which pushes Iran behind its rivals in the region. China’s investments in the energy sector and infrastructure projects will provide significant contributions to the development of Iran. In this regard, it is clear that not only China, but also Iran will acquire substantial benefits.

- Could China lessen the effects of Western sanctions on Iran through the agreement?

- In fact, China does not want to risk its trade volume with the U.S. Even though there is tension in the relations between Tehran and Washington, it is a slight chance that Beijing will use to put investments in Iran. When we examined China’s attitude so far against the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and European countries on Iran, it can be seen that Beijing does not want to risk the profits which it has gained from the relations with the West. However, it should not be forgotten that Beijing contributes to Tehran enough to prevent him from complete kneeling before the West. Despite all the pressures of Trump’s maximum pressure policy, China has continued, albeit a small amount, to buy oil from Iran and indirectly contributed to Iran’s international trade. Thus, it ensured that Iran did not experience a severe national security problem from inside or outside during this period. Undoubtedly, if China had not given these supports, Iran would have had severe economic and security issues.

- Could this agreement bring about a new front in the US-China confrontation?

- There is a global competition between China and the U.S., and this is increasingly intensified. In this competition, Iran is seen as a trump card by China. Even though at different levels, this has always been the case since the 1979 Revolution. Therefore, it would not be an appropriate definition to talk about a new front. Simply, the importance of actors, such as Iran, comes to the fore a little more in the competition between the two global powers. Being aware of this situation, Tehran is trying to secure its own interests.

by Yunis Abdullayev

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