“Selling Kish Island”, “giving away Jask Island” which is at the opening of Strait of Hormuz and all its international oil transfers, “heavy discounts to China for buying oil, gas and petrochemical products”, “giving Chinese companies the priority to invest in all Iranian infrastructure”, “allowing China to use and operate military bases in Iran”, “allowing China to protect its investments by deploying 5,000 troops in Iranian soil”, “giving the right to Chinese companies to fish all they want in Persian Gulf”, and so much more in return for $400billion Chinese investment in oil, gas and petrochemical industries and building/developing of transportation and other infrastructure in Iran, are parts of the rumors on the news about the “25-year agreement between Islamic Republic and China.”
It has been on top of the news in the past few days, but the talks between the two governments led to Xi Jinping traveling to Tehran and meeting with Ali Khamenei. The “Islamic Republic Supreme Leader” approved the “deal” on January 23, 2016 and told Chinese President, “We will never forget China’s kindness to us during sanctions.” Which means Khamenei, who controls every aspect of regime’s policies, especially the foreign policy, has given his green signal and nobody in the country could defy him. Just like he was the one agreeing with JCPOA and just like when Javad Zarif, defending his actions at Islamic Consultative Assembly, said, “the Supreme Leader must approve everything regarding foreign policy.” However, after almost 5 years, the Chinese hasn’t signed the “agreement” yet and Zarif has told the “representatives” that they would know the details as soon as it is “finalized”.
Javad Zarif: “The Supreme Leader must approve everything regarding foreign policy.”
That meeting was at the back burner until recently, when Mahmoud Ahmadinjead, the former President of Islamic Republic brought it all back to the surface by saying “a long-term agreement with a foreign nation” is inked without all the details of it known and it’s against national interests and Iranians won’t recognize it. That speech sparked a nationwide discussion. Islamic Republic government from top to bottom has denied all rumors, without giving out any details about its contents. Zarif, Foreign Minister, Vaezi, Chief of Staff, Mousavi, Foreign Ministry Spokesman, all have separately said this “roadmap” is based on “mutual interests and respect” and the rumors are spread by “monarchists” and opposition media fed by “Islamic Republic enemies.”
The aforementioned parts were mostly published by Simon Watkins at OilPrice from a source close to Islamic Republic Oil Ministry! Some of these are already happening and are not exclusive to this “agreement” but even if half of these details are true, together with the facts we already know about Chinese plans for 2025, 2035, 2050, One Belt One Road,… Iranians have the right to oppose this treaty. This could transform and reshape the Middle East’s political landscape as we know it over the course of 25 years!
The mysterious situation gets more intriguing. As soon as Iranians started to raise their concern about it, calling it shameful and a betrayal to their homeland and starting online campaigns on social media platforms to show their disapproval, Ensafnews, close to former President Mohammad Khatami, published an 18-page document calling it the “the details of Iran-China deal”. The document has no details but it’s called “the final draft”, more like a wishful thinking, with no mention of any number, specific investments or what Iran would give China in return?! It talks about “mutual banking relations” but Iran is blacklisted in FATF and if China wants to deal with Iran, it will risk all its financial institutions! It is worth mentioning, to avoid US sanctions, China stopped buying Iranian oil and its products earlier this year! This “final draft of the roadmap for mutual relations between China and Iran” is written in Persian and it says “the English version” is the ultimate executable version. International agreements written in Persian is something for Guinness World Records, but even mentioning the other language is to be used makes this version essentially worthless! The list of flaws in this “exclusive document” would need a series of articles and not the main focus of this one.
Farnaz Fassihi on NYTimes has blamed US based on a copy of a document no one knows where it has come from.
But that hasn’t stopped the reporters and political “analysts” to use it to publish inaccurate information, saying this is not as bad as it looks, based on a copy of a document no one knows where it has come from! News agencies keep watermarking the pages and publish the same 18 pages as “exclusive”. Farnaz Fassihi, close reporter to Khatami’s gang in Iran, wrote a piece for NYTimes, referring to this document full of flaws, selling Islamic Republic talking points to the rest of the world, participating in regime’s disinformation campaign. As usual, she and other regime’s propaganda mouthpieces in different media outlets across the world, blame the “agreement” on US “maximum pressure” policy, saying that’s why Islamic Republic is turning to China for survival. If this is a “mutually beneficial agreement” and everything bad said about it is “monarchists”‘ figment of imagination, why is there any need to place the blame on anybody?! Is a regime on the verge of collapse, ready to give any concessions for a little time, eligible to sign a 25-year “contract”, putting generations of Iranians at risk of slavery?!
On the other hand, the theocratic regime has a very dark history in terms of telling the truth, even about the most obvious incidents! The most recent ones include lying about November 2019 protests and how they’ve killed more than 1500 innocent protesters, imprisoning thousands of political activists, even sentencing some to death sentences, but denying all of it despite videos, family members testimonies, killing 176 aboard PS752 by shooting it down with IRGC missiles but lying about it for 3 days even though they knew about it immediately, and the list goes on. Assuming they lie about a “secretive agreement” is not too far fetched.
Even if we assume Islamic Republic is telling the truth for the first time in its 41 years history, and this “deal” is in accordance with One Belt, One Road policy of China, that means loads of high interest loans for Iranian investors and when they become delinquent on their loans, Chinese companies would own businesses, lands,… or in best case scenario it means decades of plundering Iran’s natural resources and Iranian workforce by Chinese to receive their return on their “investments.”
Whether Islamic Republic is right about this “deal”, which still doesn’t even have a public name and has been called “deal, treaty, contract, agreement, roadmap,…” by Islamic Republic officials for 5 years, or the rumors are right, this deal is being signed under wrong assumptions and against any political norm. The “secret treaty” days are over and Iranians have the right to know full details of this “contract.”