By Ebrahim Fallahi

Iran-China strategic partnership: a roadmap for mutual prosperity

April 4, 2021 - 15:26

TEHRAN – Iran, and China have signed a comprehensive long-term cooperation agreement with the aim of cementing their economic and political alliance as both countries are subjected to U.S. sanctions.

The agreement which will significantly expand the two countries' economic cooperation is seen to be a great blow to Washington’s efforts for isolating the Islamic Republic of Iran’s economy and therefore has raised concerns in the United States.

Since the signing of the deal on March 27, a wave of negative press has been created around the issue both on news platforms and on social media.

The agreement is claimed to be a deal based on which Iran is giving China great power and authority over the country’s resources and the Chinese will soon become a stakeholder in most of Iran’s important industries.

The above-mentioned claims are just part of the efforts made by the U.S. and its allies for discrediting and sabotaging an agreement which seems to be a big threat to American unilateralism in the region.

The question, however, is how much the mentioned claims are true? And does this agreement really jeopardize Iran’s integrity and interests in any way? To answer these questions some major aspects of this comprehensive agreement should be looked into in more detail.

To add to our body of knowledge in this regard, the Tehran Times conducted interviews with economists and board members of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ICCIMA) Ali Shams Ardakani and Kaveh Zargaran.

Deal or agreement

The first and most important issue that should be taken into consideration with regard to the Iran-China comprehensive agreement is the fact that it is not a “deal” in the sense of an economic or political contract, this means that no price or value has been set in any aspects of the agreement and no strict obligations are defined.

In other words, the agreement is just a roadmap that outlines the framework of the two countries' cooperation in various areas over the next 25 years.

Benefits for Iran

Regarding the advantages of this accord for Iran, the first issue would be the huge impact that the strategic accord can have on Iran’s political stance during the nuclear talks with world powers.

In a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi prior to the signing ceremony in Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said: “Cooperation between the two countries is very important for the implementation of the nuclear accord and the fulfillment of obligations by European countries.”

So clearly the U.S. whose interests are on the line here would be against Iran forging alliance with other world powers like China.

The agreement which is expected to include Chinese investments in Iran in a variety of sectors including oil, gas, petrochemical, renewables and energy infrastructure will also bring the Islamic Republic into China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure scheme intended to stretch from East Asia to Europe; this means that Iran’s political and strategic stance in the region will become stronger.

Another significant aspect of the accord is its focus on the promotion and development of the cooperation between the two countries’ private sectors.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said earlier that the agreement was a “road map” for trade and economic and transportation cooperation, with a special focus on both countries’ private sectors.

Considering the fact that currently a lot of the Iranian private sector’s problems are due to the lack of funding for productive projects, Chinese investment in such areas could be a great opportunity for Iran’s productive sector to thrive.

In this regard, Ali Shams Ardakani, ICCIMA's chairman of the Macroeconomics Committee, told the Tehran Times that the Iran-China accord is a great opportunity for Iran to merge local and foreign investments in order to rise among the world’s top economies.

According to Ardakani, one of the most important issues that should be taken into consideration while assessing the benefits or disadvantages of the strategic accord with China is the quality of the deals that are going to be signed in the future under the framework of this comprehensive agreement.

“For analyzing different aspects of the accord, we must analyze the conditions based on which the agreements concluded under this comprehensive document will be signed,” he said.

“If these contracts lead to the development of the country’s infrastructure and increase investment in productive areas, they should be supported by the government and people.”

Ardakani suggested that a headquarter comprising of high-ranking national entities should be established in order to make the necessary decisions and choices with regard to the companies and organizations that are going to be partnered up with the Chinese side in the future.

The ICCIMA board member believes that the accord should not become a tool for political parties inside the country and the government’s focus should be merely on guarding the national interests. 

Also, according to the Head of ICCIMA’s Internal Trade Committee Kaveh Zargaran, China can be a financial channel through which Iranian companies could conduct business despite the U.S. sanctions.

In the political sense too, this agreement is drafted with the aim of promoting regional and international peace, stability, and development, and therefore is not intended to oppose any third party or to interfere in the affairs of any other country.

EF/MA

Comments

  • 2021-04-04 22:29
    Thru oil sales discounts, you give over 150 billion usd (for free over 25 y)... plus 400 billion usd chinese investments in Iran, they will own some 525 billion usd of assets in Iran! Dont be a client state! Diversify and grow your OWN INDUSTRIES THRU RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENTS. Don't be lazy IR

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