The head of the Iranian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce revealed the decline in the volume of trade exchange between Iran and China, following the withdrawal of the previous US administration from the nuclear agreement signed with Iran in 2015 and the return of US sanctions on Tehran.
Tehran- The Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee stressed the need not to disclose the details of the Iran-China agreement in accordance with the national interest, while Iran’s Institute of International Relations considered the agreement a tool for balancing power in the region.
Nine months after Tehran and Beijing signed a 25-year cooperation agreement to strengthen their economic and political relationship, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and his Chinese counterpart Yang Yi met a few days ago in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, to announce the agreement’s entry into force.
In light of the Iranian unofficial circles’ criticism of the agreement’s lack of transparency and the ambiguity surrounding its provisions, Mahmoud Abbaszadeh, a spokesman for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, explained that the agreement is comprehensive and contains sensitive dimensions that should not be disclosed based on the national interest.
Abbaszadeh said in a statement to Iranian media that it was agreed on strategic cooperation between Tehran and Beijing in various sectors, including politics, economy, energy, trade and industry, and may include military cooperation, and some details will be announced to public opinion in due course.
The Iranian researcher in political economy, Muhammad Eslami, downplayed the importance of criticism about the ambiguity in his country’s agreement with China, and said, “There are no details yet about the terms of the comprehensive Iranian-Chinese agreement because they are incomplete and need talks of joint working groups, and what has been agreed upon is still broad lines.”
Islami sees – in his speech to Al Jazeera Net – two main points in the field of economic cooperation in the agreement: the first is facilitating trade, and the other is related to cooperation in the energy sector, especially oil, gas and petrochemicals.
And economic cooperation between Tehran and Beijing will not be limited to Iran’s export of energy to China, but the latter’s investment in the Iranian economy is the desired goal in the strategic agreement between them – and the talk here is for an Islamic one – which is governed by a win-win equation.
Eslami explained that the vision of the government of President Ibrahim Raisi is to develop relations with East Asia, especially before resolving outstanding issues with the West, contrary to what the previous Iranian government believed, he said.
Islami concluded that the launch of the Iranian-Chinese agreement at this time is a confirmation of the famous saying of the Raisi government that it will not mortgage its economy to the outcome of the ongoing nuclear negotiations in Vienna, and that it wants a fundamental solution to the contentious issues and a sustainable agreement that puts an end to Western pressure on Iran.
In this context, Majid Reza Hariri, Chairman of the Iranian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce, referred to the nuclear negotiations that Tehran is conducting with the countries still under the nuclear agreement, stressing the need to meet the lion’s share of the demand in the Iranian market through China if the nuclear negotiations reach a conclusion.
Hariri urged – in a press statement carried by the Isna News Agency – to plan in advance to import the necessary supplies from China after the lifting of sanctions on Tehran, explaining that the Iranian-Chinese Joint Chamber of Commerce has placed the establishment of permanent exhibitions of Iranian goods in a number of Chinese cities on the top of its priorities.
Hariri revealed the decline in the volume of trade exchange between Iran and China, following the withdrawal of the previous US administration from the nuclear agreement signed with Tehran in 2015, and the return of US sanctions against Iran.
Belt and Road
On the other hand, Majid Zouari, director of the Institute of International Relations in Iran, expected a qualitative leap in security and military cooperation between Tehran and Beijing in the coming period, in addition to developing economic, political and cultural relations between them.
Zuari believes – in an interview with Al Jazeera Net – that China will become the number one power in the world over the next few years, explaining that Tehran prefers to head east because of its bitter experiences with Western countries, especially what he called “the failure of Western countries to fulfill their commitments in the nuclear agreement and the withdrawal of the previous US administration from it.” “.
He added that Beijing is seeking to establish major infrastructure projects to strengthen its relations with Asia, Europe and Africa, stressing that China sees in its interest to involve Iran in the economic belt and Silk Road project, which aims to link Beijing with the world.
In light of the frantic competition between China and the United States, Beijing wants to ensure the availability of energy for its economic movement in the future, stressing that Beijing has planned over the past years to invest in the energy sector in the Gulf region in the Middle East.
Zouari considered China’s desire to inaugurate a consulate in the city of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran, as stemming from its strategic vision to enhance its presence in the Gulf waters and develop its relations with the countries of this region rich in oil and gas.
When referring to the growing economic relations between the Gulf states, Zouari believes that his country has the right to head east to preserve its regional position.
He concluded his speech by saying that it is possible to deal with the Iranian-Chinese agreement as a tool for balancing power in the region and the blocs whose features have begun to become clear during the past few years.
The semi-official Isna News Agency had published leaked articles of the draft agreement under the title “The Comprehensive Cooperation Program between the People’s Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran”, which can be summarized in:
- Chinese investment inside Iran and the transfer of knowledge to it.
- Bilateral cooperation in transport and ports.
- Establishment of industrial and commercial complexes.
- Political, security and military cooperation.