The adjectives used to describe the Iran-China strategic partnership agreement signed in Tehran on March 27, do not come close to reflecting its true significance.
The 25-year $400-billion deal will have far-reaching impact not only on the region but also on global politics.
It consists of 20 articles, covering Tehran-Beijing ties in “Political,” “Executive Cooperation,” “Human and Cultural,” “Judiciary, Security and Defense,” and “Regional and International” domains.
Some breakdown of figures known so far indicate that China would invest $280 billion in developing Iran’s oil and gas sectors.
Another $120 billion will be invested in manufacture and transport infrastructure development.
Connectivity is the buzzword. China’s agreement with Iran will now open up more trade routes as part of Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The agreement was signed by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his visiting Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.
In meeting with Wang after the landmark deal was signed, Dr Zarif said the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement would lead to further strengthening of relations between Tehran and Beijing.
President Hassan Rouhani said Iran and China are determined to improve “strategic and long-term” cooperation in various political and economic fields and fight terrorism and extremism in the region.
“Tehran and Beijing enjoy very good relations and the two countries’ common stance on international issues attests to the favorable level of these ties,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi after the deal was signed.
Iran’s Majlis Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf said through his twitter account on March 28 also described the strategic cooperation agreement with China as a major factor for development of the country’s politico-economic power.
He said the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement “is a major element for production of power” within the framework of Iran’s “Look to the East and Eurasia approach through a balanced and economy-oriented foreign policy.”
He regretted that in the past important opportunities were lost.
“Unfortunately, important opportunities have been lost so far, and even now, serious determination is needed to translate this strategic document into strategic cooperation, so that, the dear Iranian nation would be able to take advantage of its economic benefits,” Qalibaf added.
The Iran-China strategic deal not surprisingly led US media outlets to lament Washington’s loss of clout in the region.
The US has been trying to undermine Islamic Iran for decades through illegal sanctions while the new Joe Biden regime in Washington has declared China as “the biggest challenge” of the century.
The Iran-China strategic partnership agreement shows the US has failed in its stated goal to undermine Iran or China.
Through its “resistance economy”, as instructed by the Rahbar Iman Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Islamic Iran has weathered these challenges.
America’s “maximum pressure” policy to force Iran to surrender to US demands has led to “maximum failure”.
And China has refused to be browbeaten into submission through US bullying and threats as was evident during their meeting in Alaska on March 18-19.
Chinese diplomats did not blink in their encounter with the Americans and gave them a dressing-down that left the Yankees shell-shocked!
It is important for decision-makers and managers in Tehran to not abandon the principles outlined by the Rahbar in his speech on March 20 despite the strategic agreement with China.
The Rahbar described the Iranian New Year beginning on March 21 as the year of “Production: Support and the Elimination of Obstacles.”
He praised the people of Iran for displaying great capability in confronting the enemy’s maximum pressures.
“Our enemies, headed by the US, were after bringing the Iranian nation to its knees with their maximum pressures. Today, they and their European associates explicitly say that the maximum pressure policy failed. We knew that it would fail and were, therefore, determined to defeat the enemy in that area. We knew that the Iranian nation would stand firm. Today, they are acknowledging that their maximum pressure policy has failed,” the Rahbar said.
There is no substitute to self-reliance although the massive Chinese investment, if handled properly, would bring enormous benefits to Iran.
China, too, will benefit greatly. It is already Iran’s largest trading partner and plans are afoot to increase their trade to $600 billion in the next 10 years.
As China’s economy grows by leaps and bounds, it needs stable energy supplies. Iran is capable of meeting Chinese demand for oil and gas.
China’s economic diplomacy is paying off in contrast to America’s coercive tactics against countries that it perceives as weak.
It may kick and scream being knocked off the pedestal but there is little Uncle Sam can do.
The rest of the world would say: Good-riddance to a noxious bully!