By Mohammad Mazhari

China is the best partner that Iran could ever have: geopolitical analyst

April 5, 2021 - 14:2

TEHRAN – Pointing to the U.S. disinformation campaign against China, an American geopolitical analyst says Beijing is the best partner that Iran could ever have.

“The controversies over China's foreign investments are the result of the U.S.' disinformation-driven Hybrid War,” Andrew Korybko tells the Tehran Times.

“China is arguably the best partner that Iran could ever have,” Korybko adds.

A 25-year plan for a comprehensive partnership between Iran and China was finalized and signed on March 27.

The plan was finalized in a meeting in Tehran between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Ali Larijani, advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution and Iran’s Special Representative for strategic ties with the People’s Republic of China.

Korybko says, “The reportedly promised Chinese investments will enable the Islamic Republic to modernize its economy and emerge as a regional production powerhouse with time.”

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: What is the importance of the 25-year strategic partnership signed between China and Iran? How can it impact the region, including Iran's neighbors?

A: The recently concluded agreement advances the W-CPEC+ vision of expanding the Belt & Road Initiative's (BRI) flagship project of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) westward through Iran and thenceforth to Azerbaijan and Turkey, after which it can connect with Russia and the EU respectively. It represents major progress on the grand strategic goal of more closely connecting the Eurasian supercontinent, and therefore simultaneously serves all relevant stakeholders' interests. This is especially so for Russia as well considering that its Greater Eurasian Partnership has the same goal. As for Iran, the reportedly promised Chinese investments will enable the Islamic Republic to modernize its economy and emerge as a regional production powerhouse with time. This will in turn improve its people's living standards and gradually reduce the protest potential of its population, which is sometimes provoked from abroad as evidenced by past events over the years.

Q: Don’t you predict that the Sino-Iran partnership may prompt the U.S. to take an immediate step to return to the JCPOA?

A: To the contrary, the Chinese-Iranian Strategic Partnership makes it less likely that Washington and Tehran will reach an agreement on the JCPOA. Both parties understand the game-changing geostrategic consequences of this deal, which disincentivizes Iran to comply with any of the unilateral concessions that the U.S. has demanded. America is unlikely to moderate its view in light of this agreement since the tensions that its prior withdrawal from the pact provoked work out to its regional interests by justifying its increased military presence in the (Persian) Gulf. They also create an excellent pretext for the U.S. to sell more arms to the (Persian)Gulf Kingdoms, too.

Q: How do you assess China's ties with Asian countries economically? Is China a reliable partner for a country such as Iran?

A: China is arguably the best partner that Iran could ever have. The controversies over China's foreign investments are the result of the U.S.' disinformation-driven Hybrid War. Some scandals objectively occurred in the past, but they were due to opposition forces exploiting the terms of various agreements for populist purposes in order to improve their electoral potential. It should be remembered that China, unlike the U.S., doesn't ever impose any terms onto its partners, nor do any of its deals have secret strings attached. Every country's legitimate government voluntarily enters into various agreements with China on their own prerogative because they believe that the terms advance their national interests. This is of course also true for Iran as well.

Q: Why is the U.S. worried about the Iran-China partnership?

A: The ongoing New Cold War is due to the U.S.' efforts to thwart China's rise as the world's next superpower. It will therefore always oppose everything that's in China's interests, especially if this concerns its other strategic rivals like Iran too. The recently concluded agreement brings BRI to West Asia through W-CPEC+, thereby creating a direct connection between that part of the world and East Asia via Pakistan with time. This will enable all relevant countries to trade with one another via overland routes instead of relying on the maritime ones that they presently do. The end result is that the influence of the U.S. Navy will decline because it will no longer be able to blackmail the international economy as it currently does. Of course, this will take a lot of time to unfold and maritime trade routes will always remain in use, but it's nevertheless important to note the trend of diversifying trade via overland ones, which is what this partnership aims to do with West and East Asia via South Asia through W-CPEC+.

Q: How do you see China's ties with Iran's rivals, including Saudi Arabia, in West Asia?

A: China doesn't take sides in regional disputes and always pursues pragmatic, balanced relations with all parties. In West Asia, this has seen it increase its economic relations with “Israel”, Saudi Arabia, and the other (Persian) Gulf Kingdoms in parallel with doing the same with Iran. In fact, China recently built a drone factory in Saudi Arabia a few years back as well, which shows how close their relations are. The grand strategic vision that China is trying to advance is the creation of a regional economic network that might in theory reduce the conflict potential between rival powers like Saudi Arabia and Iran due to the shared interests that they'd have in doing their utmost to not disrupt trade. Again, this will take some time to enter into practice, but it's still important to have a view of what China's long-term goals are in this respect.
 

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