Today, March 27, 2021, the Islamic Republic and China signed a “25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement.” An agreement that other than an 18-page document published by New York Times originating from Islamic Republic media remains vague in numbers and details. This mystification seems to be by design since both countries are ruled by dictatorial regimes. Additionally, the ruling mafia in Tehran has no interest in being criticized by Iranians, since it enters this agreement from a weak standpoint. Islamic Republic controlled media have been trumpeting the agreement while China has been completely mute about this deal in its media, making the future of the deal more questionable. However, that hasn’t stopped Iranians from expressing their disapproval when the reports first surfaced. Those reports have all had one thing in common: Islamic Republic’s massive concessions to China.
China and the Islamic Republic have more in common than one might think. Most noticeable and relevant to this article are: Both are dictatorships stifling any critique, both are widely rebuked on the international stage, both are under US sanctions for human rights and other reasons, both are based on despising US policies! These commonalities have made it easier to reach a deal! Chinese Communist Party is on the verge of turning its dream of becoming the world’s dominant superpower a reality, of course, after displacing US of this position in geopolitical and economic areas. The CCP leader, Xi Jinping has called it the “Chinese Dream” plan.
To achieve this ambitious goal, China needs Iran’s land and its resources: Its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and oil. In BRI, China signs agreements with 140 countries across the world. It includes range of roads and belts from Indo-Pacific sea routes and tunnels to roads over Southeastern Asia, South Asia, Africa, Europe and Middle East. 18 countries in Latin America and Carribean are in the plan too. The BRI which was formerly known as OBOR (One Belt One Road), was proposed in 2013 and became part of the People’s Republic of China’s Constitution in 2017. According to the CCP officials, it must be completed by 2049, the 100th anniversary of CCP’s establishment.
Besides Iran’s land, its oil is priceless for China. They are expected to import about 12million barrels per day in 2021, 6-8% more than the year before, in addition to the 10% growth in the last 10 months of 2020. The CCP has begun stockpiling oil more than ever before. Satellite imagery by Reuters show massive new construction of storage areas for oil. The communist regime has even asked for help from private companies. This strategic move has several reasons. It protects China against sudden changes in the oil market, especially at the time that it is at odds with the US. It helps China’s increasing consumption of oil due to booming economy after the coronavirus epidemic. It also augments the chances of China reaching its goal, displacing another big importer of oil, the United States.
China purchases oil from different sources, but Islamic Republic has become one of the main ones. Iran’s oil is under US sanctions, forcing the regime in Tehran to sell it at a bargaining price. According to reports, it sells $3-5 below crude’s benchmark price. Considering the huge amount China needs, that equals to real savings. Despite a record-breaking decline in total trade between the two dictatorships, oil sells has jumped 129% from last month, reaching the highest in the past two years. In March 2021, it has amounted to 856,000 barrels per day. Bloomberg reports China has been helping the Islamic regime circumventing the sanctions by obfuscating the origin of cargo.
The 25-year comprehensive accord with the theocratic regime in Iran is another card for China to show US, flaunting about its advancement in geopolitics and economy. It secures however much oil it needs at a bargain for a foreseeable future, build its BRI and reach the rest of the Middle East and Northern Africa through Iran. In return, Islamic Republic uses this agreement as a leverage to pressure the new US administration into returning to the failed JCPOA, try to revive its collapsed economy by Chinese investments, even if it means to sell or rent its land and resources to China for a long period of time. The theocratic regime also benefits from full support of China in all international communities, including United Nations Security Council where it has veto power.
This long-term deal, even though its details may not be revealed for various reasons, obviously messes up the whole geopolitics of the region, and negatively impacts US – China’s already heated relationship. Western Europe is not immune to the global reach of CCP’s ambitions, either. The world needs to make a stand against China or let it overrun the entire planet. The Chinese Communist Party has already stumped over human rights in its own mainland while supporting other dictators around the globe including Islamic Republic, continues trolling in the Persian Gulf, has abysmal labor practices and environmental protection records across the world on the way to its BRI, and creating hegemonic colonies in its footsteps. It doesn’t even stop at bringing about new nuclear threats, new North Korean type countries, to the world.
Where should China be stopped?