"Everybody wants rich Chinese Tourist"

jeudi 24 juin 2021

Focus on Iran - China Relationships

 A month after the signing of a twenty-five-year "strategic cooperation agreement" between Iran and China, almost no details of its contents have been released. If some, in the United States as in Iran, pointed out, alarmed, a "major geopolitical change", sign of the pivot of Iran towards the East and of a rapprochement of the two countries vis-a-vis the United States, this partnership non-binding and still symbolic at this stage hardly constitutes a major development in Tehran's strategy. In the eyes of analysts, this partnership offers above all "a rhetorical" and "political" victory for Iran at a pivotal moment, as negotiations are underway in Vienna to save the Iran nuclear deal.


“So Iran can say to the West, 'Look! You will never be able to isolate us as you have done in the past ”, analyzes Dina Esfandiary, specialist in the Middle East within the think tank International Crisis Group. But the signing of this bilateral framework agreement does not exempt neither Tehran nor Beijing from the imperative of reaching a compromise with Washington on Iranian nuclear power. Its genesis is also linked to the nuclear "deal" signed in 2015 by Tehran with the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and Germany. The denunciation of this "deal" by Washington, in 2018, and the reinstatement of American sanctions had brought an end to the talks started in 2016 by Beijing and Tehran on this partnership. The signing of the China-Iran deal, during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Tehran on March 27, came at the same time as the relaunch of nuclear negotiations.

photo @Chinesebusinessclub.fr

The success of these negotiations depends on the implementation of the partnership between Iran and China. The extent and timing of contracts that can then be signed between the two countries also depend on the progress and ultimately the outcome of the Vienna talks. Already in 2019, due to US sanctions, Beijing was forced to withdraw from the South Pars development project, a huge gas field in the Persian Gulf. "This framework agreement with China is for the moment mainly symbolic," argues Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, an economist specializing in Iran and founder of the Europe-Iran Business Forum. If the US sanctions were lifted [following a deal in Vienna], we would go from symbolic to real implementation of contracts and bonds. In that case, Iran could finally reap significant economic benefits from its deal with China. "

read more