The Islamic Republic of Iran and Communist China are close to signing a $400 billion strategic deal. Both regimes are working on a 25-year “Cooperation Roadmap” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed on Tuesday.

Under the agreement, China will invest hundreds of billions of dollars in the oil-rich nation, giving it control over the country’s natural resources and access to Iranian military and air bases, recent news reports say. China will initially station 5000 “security personnel” to “protect” its investment, the Indian business daily Financial Express revealed on Monday.

Europe-based Radio Farda reported on the ongoing negotiations, citing official Iranian news agencies:

The Islamic Republic and China are holding talks on finalizing their 25-year “Cooperation Roadmap” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif insisted on Tuesday, July 14.

Meanwhile, Zarif claimed that Beijing initially submitted a “draft” of the agreement in March 2020, based on an earlier copy presented by Iran. (…)

In the meantime, Tabnak, a website close to the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has published an eighteen-page text of the draft, which has no details and contains general statements of optimal cooperation between the two countries.

The two sides are negotiating on having the two drafts finalized, Zarif asserted, noting that the document should then be ratified by the responsible bodies of the two countries.

The pact opens up the country to economic exploration by Communist China, Iranian dissidents warn.

“The regime dominating our country is seeking to sign a despicable 25-year agreement with China to plunder Iran’s natural resources and accepting a foreign army in our homeland, ” Iran’s exiled crown prince Reza Pahlavi said earlier this month. 

The pact with China has strong backing from Iran’s ruling Islamic establishment, including that of the regime’s military wing and the U.S. designated terrorist group, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). This is “a pact between the lion and the dragon,” the IRGC-affiliated newspaper Javan declared.

The Indian newspaper Financial Express reported on the military side of the Sino-Persian pact:

Major expenditure of the US $280 billion would be earmarked for developing Iran’s petrochemical, oil and gas industries which have suffered immensely as a result of US-led economic sanctions. Interestingly, as per reports, China will position up to 5000 Chinese security personnel to protect its projects in Iran. As part of the agreement, China would increase the import of Iranian oil in defiance of US sanctions.

Another significant aspect of the strategic partnership is military cooperation between the two countries which includes weapons development, training between Iranian and Chinese armed forces and intelligence sharing. China would also be allowed the use of Iranian air bases although it is any body’s guess as to the utility of such measure. There are indications that the strategic agreement has the backing of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, which has sway over strategic matters impacting Iran.

China has a similar agreement with neighboring Pakistan. The $64 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor comprises of roads, railways, and ports, giving Beijing logistical access to the Middle East. The project also includes a Chinese naval base in the Arabian Sea, which makes it China’s first overseas military base in the port of Djibouti, near the Horn of Africa.

The multi-billion deal is already reshaping the geopolitical dynamics of the Muslim-majority Middle East and Central Asia.

With the agreement close to being finalized, Iran kicked India out of a major rail and port project, a move sought to give New Delhi access to central Asian markets, Indian newspapers reported this week. New Delhi and Beijing are currently locked in military conflict after China’s troops occupied a strategic mountain pass in the Himalayas last month, killing at least 20 Indian soldiers. The China-Iran agreement raises anxiety in New Delhi, which feels encircled by Beijing’s military and naval build-up in the region.

Secretary Pompeo slams Iranian regime for its assault on human and women rights (July 2)

[Cover image via YouTube]

 

 
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