Updated: Oct 31, 2022
Image credits: Diplomatist
“A highly awaited deal for Tehran with a major world power which comes at a time when Iran’s economy has been wrecked under US sanctions”
On the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Tehran and Beijing, a multi-billion dollar ‘strategic’ deal was signed between the two, which signified China’s growing interest in the Middle East and a new field of confrontation between the US and China. The then Trump Administration, in all reality, had little desire to engage Iran. The signing of the Sino-Iranian deal is not what Washington expected. The agreement is more an Alliance based on the sale of Iranian Oil at heavily discounted prices for the next 25 years.
China is primarily trying to guarantee its energy requirements for the next 25 years. Iran is giving away national treasure in exchange for the continued viability of its Islamic Revolutionary ideology and survival. China will contribute to Iran, but not so much in proper monetary compensation, but instead with technology, infrastructure development and weapons it has already developed in the future.
WHO GETS WHAT
The Document of the deal was obtained by the New York Times, and Iranian officials verified it as accurate. This quick acceptance of the document as being real indicates that the Iranians are very serious about this deal, potentially providing China with a strong foothold in the Middle East. The Revolutionary Guard of Iran has found a willing partner in an Atheist Regime in China which ironically persecutes its Muslim population. If ever there was a paradox of ideology, it can be found between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the People’s Republic of China.
Image credits: Daily Sabah
Trump’s policy of isolating Iran now seems to be backfired. However, it appears the result has come quicker than expected, as China has used the COVID-19 Crisis to its advantage in this case. There is little the U.S. will be able to do in this case other than being left out of the equation unless the Biden administration undertakes a significant overhaul of foreign policy towards Iran. Iran might also see itself as neither in need of a strict nuclear deal nor looking for customers of its energy resources.
China is not seeking U.S. waivers to do business with Iran, as India had sought. India has strategically also left out Iran’s equation. It is likely it will remain out of the loop, and relations will not reach the levels they had in the late 2000s for years to come if nothing is done to alter this likely scenario. At the same time, Iran is expected to show little interest in expanding the Chabahar relationship with India, though Iran denies this.
THE FUTURE OF IRAN
An epic policy failure has come into play with Iran, and the pulling out of the Iran Nuclear Deal was the basis for all this. Besides China, Pakistan and to some extent, Russia will now face the prospect of an Iran that will begin to resemble a far more powerful North Korea like a model for Chinese Influence Orbit. Pakistan will now find an Iran, which will most likely become a more neutral nation towards it, as Iran will be under China's sphere of influence.
The only obvious choice would be to engage Iran for the U.S. and India and to open trade with Iran. In time Iranian nationalism would create a balance in Iran once more. Not doing so will only create difficulties in dealing with Iran as the years’ pass.
BY JAYESH SINGH