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China-Iran deal is a major blow to U.S. aspirations in Central Asia

China and Iran strengthens strategic partnership

Submitted by InfoBrics, authored by Paul Antonopoulos, independent geopolitical analyst… 

“Two ancient Asian cultures, two partners in the sectors of trade, economy, politics, culture and security with a similar outlook and many mutual bilateral and multilateral interests will consider one another strategic partners” – these were the opening words of an 18-page document that confirmed a multi-billion dollar deal between China and Iran that blatantly defies U.S. imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

According to The New York Times, the agreement that Iran and China drafted is an economic and security partnership that would allow China to invest in Iran’s banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects, “undercutting the Trump administration’s efforts to isolate the Iranian government because of its nuclear and military ambitions.”

In Tehran’s view, China and Iran are long-standing strategic partners who are now reinforcing their strategies on the international stage to oppose U.S. unilateralism. Both countries had already agreed on a strategic partnership in 2016, but this latest agreement allows Iran’s economy to have a semblance of normalcy with this flurry of desperately needed investments.

The New York Times claims that the military ties include “joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing” to fight “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes.”

Effectively, the agreement between the two countries “represents a major blow to the Trump administration’s aggressive policy toward Iran.” The agreement is expected to guarantee the supply of Iranian oil to China for the next 25 years, which undoubtedly benefits both parties as the U.S. intends to completely block Iranian crude exports to starve the country of foreign money.

The deal is a major win for China’s Belt and Road Initiative as Iran’s major new investments in transportation, rail, ports, energy, industry, commerce and services will improve China’s network in the region. Iran serves as a meeting point between South Asia, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East, making it one of the most important countries for the Belt and Road Initiative. The agreement secures the supply of oil and gas to China with an overland route that gives another option away from Southeast Asian waterways, especially at a time when hostilities between China and the U.S. in the South China Sea are increasing.

The deal will see $400 billion worth of Chinese investments into Iran’s infrastructure, including upgrades in the oil industry and the construction of a 900-kilometer railway between Tehran and Mashhad, the second city of Iran and a center of pilgrimage near the borders with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. Not only will this railway line connect two of Iran’s most important cities, but as its on the doorstep of Central Asia, it will give both China and Iran greater access into Eurasia.

Zbigniew Brzezinski argued in his book The Grand Chessboard that Central Asia was the center of global power and that it was imperative that no power, indirectly referring to Russia and China, should arise that could challenge U.S. dominance in the region. If something like this happened, the global power of the U.S. would erode. Halford John Mackinder argued in his 1904 article, The Geographical Pivot of History, that whoever ruled the “Heartland,” ruled the world. He defined the Heartland as the great Eurasian expanse of Siberia and Central Asia.

Iran is certainly a major gateway into Central Asia, and China’s enormous investment into the Islamic Republic shows that it is making a strong push to control the region. In accordance to Brzezinski’s and Mackinder’s theories, by China being the major influencer in Central Asia, it is making a strong push to control the entire region and/or world. Although Russia is another major power with vast influence in Central Asia, their relationship with China in the region can be considered cooperative at best or friendly rivals at worst. However, both are making strong efforts to limit U.S. influence in the region.

Russia simply cannot economically challenge China in the region, but due to the long history of the Russian Empire and Soviet Union controlling the region, it still has large influence for historical reasons that also includes a significant Russian minority and Russian being the second language of Central Asia. Although Russia deals with Iran, it does not have the capabilities of investing hundreds of billions into the country, meaning that the Islamic Republic will certainly come under much stronger Chinese influence, and there is not much the U.S. can do to stop it.

“The United States will continue to impose costs on Chinese companies that aid Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism,” a State Department spokeswoman wrote in response to questions about the draft agreement. “By allowing or encouraging Chinese companies to conduct sanctionable activities with the Iranian regime, the Chinese government is undermining its own stated goal of promoting stability and peace.”

It appears the U.S. will penalize Chinese companies dealing with Iran, but China would have anticipated this. How Beijing plans to deal with such penalizations that can unravel a worsening of already tense relations with the U.S. remains to be seen, but China certainly would have prepared for such a scenario. Despite some harsh words from the State Department, it is highly unlikely that Washington can respond to this immense deal that will give the beleaguered Iranian economy and currency a major lifeline. The deal will also encourage other states wary of U.S. sanctions to begin dealing with Iran again knowing that they can have Chinese support and backing.

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Sally Snyder
Sally Snyder
July 15, 2020

Here is an article that looks at the recent results of a meeting between Russia and Iran:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2020/06/russia-and-iran-growing-partnership.html

Despite Washington’s best efforts to isolate Iran with the use of sanctions, it is increasingly clear that Iran does not stand alone.

Olivia Kroth
July 15, 2020

Bravo Iran, bravo China! It is a good idea to choose friends of your liking, not those that are dictated to you.

Cudwieser
Reply to  Olivia Kroth
July 15, 2020

They’re all in the same mess the US and the West has created. It maes sense to be neighbourly until they transcend to mire the US and others have created.

History's rhymes and reasons
History's rhymes and reasons
July 15, 2020

The US is behaving like an autistic child in the lunchroom, trays of food flying in its path. Watch Nord Stream, the South China Sea and the Persian Gulf. Frustration dictates that It’s next step will be to lay depth charges and mines on its path to full blown war.

History's rhymes and reasons
History's rhymes and reasons
Reply to  History's rhymes and reasons
July 15, 2020

Trump and company really do think that America is invincible. They will act accordingly.

Cudwieser
Reply to  History's rhymes and reasons
July 15, 2020

I take concern with your use of the word Autistic. Autistic people are actually reasonable and with patience show greater understanding a behaviour than the petulent child that is the US. They are still young to the world and fail to realise the age and maturity of Russia, Persia and China. The US are still writing themselves into history, The others have written theirs.

John Ellis
July 15, 2020

Even though the West has used brutal imperialism to rule most absolute over the Middle-East, starting in BC 500 by invasion and occupation during the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, this article said nothing about the West ever having the slightest control over Iran or the Middle-East. Instead, we are fed this propaganda crap about Russia having major “control” of the region in the past and that China’s all encompassing goad is region “control” in the future. Not hardly, for nether Russia, China nor Iran have ever needed to control the region, as establishing fair trade and maximizing… Read more »

George Hartwell
George Hartwell
Reply to  John Ellis
July 20, 2020

Your comment provides a clear and well deserved correction.

Saint George
Saint George
Reply to  John Ellis
July 22, 2020

Article is about controlling central Asia, NOT the middle east. Now Google central Asia and read it again

John Ellis
July 15, 2020

This rich funded propaganda piece failed to tell readers what the term “U.S.” actually means, but it was most careful to describe a certain democratic Republic as “the Iranian regime.”

Fitzpons
Fitzpons
July 15, 2020

Every time the USA huffs and puffs and no walls come down, its power and credibility erode. Eventually, Washington will have to come to terms with the fact it is a declining power or fall into the Thucydides trap and initiate a war that everyone will lose. One pedantic point for the author – the word is ‘normality’. I remember the late great Alastair Cooke (in that far off age when there were real journalists employed in the MSM) blaming Harry Truman (not the most articulate of Presidents) for introducing ‘normalcy’. But thanks for the interesting article.

Last edited 23 days ago by Fitzpons
Cudwieser
Reply to  Fitzpons
July 16, 2020

How was it the US assumed hedgemony. Was it that we killed each other while they picked up the pieces, or was it that they have yet to actually be involved in a fight. More over how often in history has, say Rome, fought with itself? More than it conquered others, less or about the same. All empires and hegemon seem to destroy themselves, with over reach and hubris and the cost of keeping such a hegemon. America will consume itself before too long and its might will wane to no applause.

John Ellis
July 15, 2020

All of the billionaires that rule over Empires China, Russia
and USA, not one of them has our best interest at heart.

George Hartwell
George Hartwell
Reply to  John Ellis
July 20, 2020

And if they have their way and will – to depopulate the earth – many of us will not be around to acknowledge the truth of your comment, and they do seem to get their way.

Olivia Kroth
July 16, 2020

TASS:

Outsourcing to ease Russian-Iranian trade amid sanctions

https://tass.com/politics/1179033

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