Is America on a Collision Course with China over Iran? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

Is America on a Collision Course with China over Iran?

The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tehran in January 2016 laid the foundations for a future partnership agreement. He stated that he sought to open a “new chapter” in China’s relations with Iran. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “The Islamic Republic will never forget China’s cooperation during the sanctions era.”

In July 2020, ‘New York Times’ reported it had acquired an 18-page document titled, ‘Iran-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’, which concluded a long-term trade and military negotiations between China and Iran – and would see China invest $400 billion over the next 25 years in Iran.

It would “vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects” and allow China to receive Iranian oil at a reduced price in order meet its growing energy needs. The opening statement of the document reads, “Two ancient Asian cultures, two partners in the sectors of trade, economy, politics, culture and security with a similar outlook and many mutual bilateral and multilateral interests will consider one another strategic partners.”

There are many benefits for Iran with the partnership. Although not a member of the strategic Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which includes Iran’s neighbour, Pakistan, the potential for increased opportunities with China with the current arrangement makes achieving SCO membership less of a priority. In return for cheaper Iranian oil exports and other concessions, China injects billions of dollars into its struggling economy. China is now Iran’s largest trade partner, its largest oil purchaser, and its largest foreign investor. With Iran’s economic isolation due to American led sanctions, China provides a much-needed lifeline.