Iran-China ties to be at positive level during Raeisi

TEHRAN, Jan. 17 (MNA)– Dr. Alagoz says Iran-China ties will be at a positive level during the Raeisi Administration because Iran’s foreign policy has endorsed further relations with China and the neighbors on the axis of its “Look to the East" view.

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited China on January 14 to discuss the implementation of last year’s 25-Year Iran-China Strategic Cooperation Agreement. Speaking to reporters in Beijing after his meeting with Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, Amir-Abdollahian said the two countries have made "adequate arrangements" to set the agreement in motion, hailing it as "one of the important achievements" of his visit to China.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Thursday said that the 25-year comprehensive strategic partnership agreement signed with China enjoys a “win-win” approach for both nations since it serves the interests of both sides.

To shed more light on the significance of the deal, we reached out to Dr. Bilgehan Alagoz, Director of Foreign Policy Program Center for Iranian Studies-Ankara (IRAM).

Here is the full text of the interview:

Some believe that long-term strategic cooperation between Iran and China will result in the failure of US maximum pressure policy towards Iran. What do you think of this?

The answer depends on the perspective from which you approach the subject. If the aim of this policy was to limit Iran’s nuclear activities, then since there is an Iran that has enriched uranium up to 60%, we can say that the policy of maximum pressure is not a successful policy. The focus of the ongoing negotiations in Vienna for Iran is to remove the secondary sanctions imposed by the USA on Iran. If the parties achieve progress, the recent agreements with China will deepen under Vienna conditions.

Generally, how can this cooperation affect Iran’s economy and Iran’s regional role?

As reflected in the Belt and Road policy started in 2013, China attaches great importance to being influential in the Middle East in order to be a global actor. Economic relations with Iran are in the spotlight. However, although economic relations between China and Iran are due to deepen, there are potential restrictions. China is strengthening its relations with the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Syria and even with Israel. After a while, this will create a clash of interests. In order to avoid these risks, it is necessary for Iran to have a stable relationship with the regional countries. Iran’s foreign policy has endorsed further relations with China and the neighbors on the axis of its “Look to the East” view. That’s why I foresee relations with China at a positive level during the Raeisi Administration.

How can long-term agreements between Iran and China affect Washington’s policy to contain China? Can Beijing’s cooperation with Iran boost China’s role in the region to protect its national interest?

There has been a global rivalry between China and the USA for a long time. This situation came to the fore, especially during the Trump era. The competition between the two countries made the Middle East the core of China’s strategy. In this context, besides its economic cooperation plans, China created strategic partnership diplomacy with the Middle Eastern countries. Almost all the strategic partnership agreements China has signed with countries in the Middle East and North Africa have taken place in the last ten years. China’s relative lack of security commitments in the region–compared to the US–is still the major disadvantage of Chinese involvement in the Middle East. However, the recent China-Iran agreement signals that China will initiate some sort of military cooperation with Iran, which is a new phase in China’s containment policy towards the USA. Within this framework, China- Iran relations will continue to be on the US agenda.

What can be the effect of this agreement on Iran’s oil and energy section?

During the Trump era, particularly in 2019, because of the US strict position to impose sanctions on oil imports from Iran, Iran’s oil exports reduced to approximately 200,000 barrels. But in late 2020, this picture changed with Joe Biden becoming president. Since the Biden administration gave priority to the start of nuclear negotiations with Iran, the US turned a blind eye to Iran’s oil sales in order to encourage Iran to use a new diplomacy mechanism. This has made China the largest buyer of Iranian oil. If there is no concrete result in Vienna, the USA will not ease as it did last year.

Interview by Payman Yazdani

News Code 182991

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