Asif Khan Bettani
Amidst all the tensions and the takeover of globe by corona pandemic, China and Iran announced the deal of almost $400Billions for a time span of 25 years, which provided a breathing space to Iran’s sinking economy and alarmed the bells in the Washington. The deal include investment in Iran key sector of energy and infrastructure. $280Billion will be invested in oil sector and $120Billion is expected to be invested in transport and uplifting of existed infrastructure. Time is the essence of every happening, occurring around the world. And when it comes to international politics, it is of much more worth. On the mean time Iran needed a strong support from a power that can assist them to getting out
of the troubled and crippled economy. The deal is continuation of assurance of Chinese President Xi Jinping visit to Tehran in 2016. The stubbornness of US has compelled the Tehran to adopt Look East policy and went to the arms of china. International politics mostly depends on interests and where it is kept prior above all. The state utmost priority is its self-survival in all the scenarios. There is no free lunch in global politics. Achieving its security interest is securing the navigation route of its trade in Persian Gulf which holds a great importance for China. After this deal Middle East seems to be a new arena where China will try to counter US hegemony through Iran. This time this will be not bilateral
tensions but the consequences will go beyond the region and will be harming the west interest too. The implications of the Sino-Iran deal can intensify the security concerns of the region. One of the sole reason for this deal is to extend the BRI towards the Middle East. Syria, a close ally of Iran, is also hoping of Chinese help is reconstruction of its war torn country in sector of ports and infrastructure. Syria and Iran are allies in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, ally of US in Syria, consider it as a major concern. Because
this deal can indirectly strengthen Bashar-ul-Assad in Syria which is supported by Iran in curbing rebel groups backed by Saudi Arabia. The addition of china in that nexus will once again alarm the bells is Washington. India is in the state of confusion for investing in the already signed railway line which was signed earlier in the trilateral agreement between Iran, Afghanistan and India in 2018. The mystery of dropping off the India from the Chahbahar-zahidan railway track that was to connect Afghanistan with Iran at the crucial time can be surely associated with the reluctance of financing due to the fear of
sanctions by US. The unilateral actions of Trump administration has ended the US monopoly in Asia which is one of his, many blunders. In 2017 when Trump came to power, he stepped backed from 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Nuclear deal included the limitation of uranium enrichment etc. Thus imposing new sanctions on Iran and freezes their nuclear program. Trump has shown all its cards against Iran. It compelled Japan too to withdraw from ties with Iran. The killing of Qasim Sulimani the head of Islamic revolutionary guard corps led them to get isolated in the region. Now the option available for Iran was
to initiate counter measure for its sanctions hit country. This china-Iran deal can also once again incentivize Pak-Iran relation. Although that remain strong and trustful in the past, but the last few border insurgencies created a gap of trust which is expected to be filled. The Trump policy of pressurizing Asian countries is weakening due to the rise of China. China is working over the policy of making friends rather than creating new fronts. China is also expanding Silk Road now called as BRI to the Bashar-ul-Assad’s four Seas strategies that will link the Mediterranean Sea, the Caspian Sea, the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf. Also in return of this deal china will get oil from Iran on cheap rates for a period of 25 years. UN Security Council rejected the bid presented by Mike Pompeo some days ago. The
draft was opposed by majority of the members of Security Council including China, UK and Germany. The draft contained provisions of arms embargo on Iran as it was going to be expired in October next month. It was considered as an illegal and unilateral step of Trump administration. The defeat in draft was followed by the threat of triggering the previous sanctions on Iran. On response to this, China and Russia raised serious concerns as unilateral act and questioning the authority of special provision that was given to US about returning the sanctions called as “snapback”. Donald Trump has already withdrawn from that deal after resuming office in 2018 and has no power to restore the sanctions. After
the encouraging statement from Russia and China over snapback, Iran has granted permission to IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) to access its two suspected nuclear sites. IAEA Director General visited Tehran and met with Iran atomic energy organization. This all is done by Iran in a good faith.
Time is crucial for Iran and has the best chance to regain its lost prestige on international forums by cooperating with international institutions. The defeat of US in Security Council for sanctioning Iran is due to its solo flight in sabotaging the nuclear deal. Time for Iran to realize the review in their policies and strengthen their diplomatic relations with others countries.
Asif Khan Bettani