After a great deal of fanfare about its “Look to the East” policy, the Iranian regime finalized its 25-year Cooperation Program with China last month. Regime officials boasted about this program as a “win-win” agreement, but when the dust settled, it became evident that this disgraceful and unpatriotic agreement was much ado about nothing.
Iran’s contemporary history is filled with despicable treaties signed by dictatorships, such as the Qajar dynasty’s “Treaty of Turkmenchay” with the Tzarist Russia. But Tehran’s recent agreement with China, auctioning national wealth to a foreign country, outdid all other unpatriotic deals by Qajar or Pahlavi dynasties.
What is Iran’s China 25-year Cooperation Program?
According to a New York Times in July 2020, the Iran-China deal would “vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects. In exchange, China would receive a regular — and, according to an Iranian official and an oil trader, heavily discounted — supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years.”
In addition, the agreement will give China a foothold in the Middle East under the pretext of deepening military cooperation, such as joint training and exercises and collaborative research and weapons development.
According to the Times, the agreement was finalized in June 2020, but Tehran did not make it public until now.
The first goal of the 25-year Iran-China Cooperation Document is to provide China with the energy it needs. This part of the document says that the Chinese government will become a steady importer of Iranian oil and hopes Iran will address China’s concerns about the return on investment in its oil sector. In return, China “pays attention” to Iran’s proper usage of financial resources from selling oil to the Chinese side.
In other words, while Tehran is obliged to sell oil at a much lower price, Beijing would only “pay attention” to give anything in return. So, China has no “commitment” to pay for oil purchased from Iran or to spend it in any way the Iranian regime wants but will “pay attention.”
Considering the U.S. sanctions on the regime’s oil sector, Iran must provide China’s required crude oil for 25 years. In return, Tehran could use the oil revenue, in a method approved by Beijing, including importing low-quality and unnecessary goods from China.
The 25-year Iran-China Cooperation agreement allows China to operate in Iran’s civil engineering sector. One of these cases is the permission to build the national railway network of the west-east of Iran, which is not connected currently. China will also make a “pilgrimage” railway in Iran that connects Pakistan to Iraq and Syria via Iran. In other words, China strengthens its foothold in all four countries while devouring Iran’s natural resources and easily accessing all four.
According to this plan, the regime hands over the development of the Makran coast in Sistan and Baluchistan Province to China, which is on the shores of the Oman Sea and is the only Iranian port. The regime’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, has urged regime officials to develop Makran coast urgently.
According to the 25-year Iran-China Cooperation Plan, China will take over the development of Jask beaches, participate in constructing an industrial town, refineries, and industries related to petrochemicals, steel, and aluminum, construction of tourism centers, industrial centers, and Iranian ports in the Makran region.
In September 2019, Petroleum-Economist also revealed shocking information about Tehran’s deal with Beijing. According to this article:
“Chinese companies will be given the right to the first refusal to bid on any new, stalled, or uncompleted oil and gas field developments.
Chinese firms will also have the right to the first refusal on opportunities to become involved with any petrochemical projects in Iran, including the provision of technology, systems, process ingredients, and personnel required to complete such projects.
China will also be able to buy any and all oil, gas, and petrochemical products at a minimum guaranteed discount of 12% to the six-month rolling mean price of comparable benchmark products, plus another 6% to 8% of that metric for risk-adjusted compensation.
China intends to utilize the low-cost labor available in Iran to build factories, designed and overseen by large Chinese manufacturing companies, with identical specifications and operations to those in China, according to the Iranian source.”
The Iran-China deal hands over the development of the fifth generation of mobile phones (5G) to China and essential services such as search engine development, Internet messaging, e-mail, anti-virus, Internet and GPS routing, mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. In other words, while the regime parliament silently approves its “Internet Protection Bill” to further oppress Iranians, the regime is acquiring equipment from China for espionage and controlling the restive society.
Would the deal Improve Iran’s economic crisis?
The answer is no! In 2013, China started the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global infrastructure development plan. According to Middle East Eye, “The project, which would link China with world markets through an extensive and ambitious set of land and maritime trade routes across Eurasia and adjacent seas, puts Iran in the center of China’s global plans.” In other words, China has no intention of developing Iran’s economic infrastructure. Videos showing Chinese ships using a highly advanced fishing tool in Iran circulated on social media last year. This tool takes fish and their spawn leaves nothing for poor Iranian fishers and destroys the ecosystem.
As mentioned before, China would not also provide Tehran with a windfall of cash, nor would it inject capital into the Iranian market. Beijing knows that helping Tehran would come at a very high price since the regime is blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force due to its institutionalized corruption and is also under U.S. sanctions.
In other words, Khamenei might “Look East,” but China looks in many directions and sees Iran as just one, and small, part of a larger economic strategy and is not putting all of its eggs into one basket.
According to an article by The Diplomat on January 17, 2022, “After the signing of the 25-Year Iran-China Agreement in March of last year, there were predictions of a massive influx of Chinese investment and substantial military and political cooperation. So far, these predictions have failed to come to pass. While China is buying record amounts of Iranian oil, it is not investing in production or much else.”
“Despite the recent progress made in improving Sino-Iranian relations, the partnership between the two remains limited by U.S. policy and Chinese self-interest. Iranian businessmen and consumers alike complain about unfavorable terms, shoddy products, and promises broken under the threat of sanctions. In short, if the China-Iran relationship is an alliance, it is not a very good one,” The Diplomat added.
However, Iran’s ruling theocracy will get the chance to strengthen its military apparatus. On July 6, 2021, the Oil price wrote in this regard, “Part of the new military co-operation includes an exchange of personnel between Iran and China and Russia, with up to 110 senior Iranian IRGC men going for training every year in Beijing and Moscow and 110 Chinese and Russians going to Tehran for their training.”
In a nutshell, the mullahs only think of preserving their grip on power. As the regime’s founder Ruhollah Khomeini said, they could even forsake the precepts of Islam to preserve the regime. Therefore, the mullahs have no regard for protecting the Iranian people’s assets and resources.
But auctioning Iran and its national wealth has deepened the public’s enmity and hatred toward the mullahs. “Opposition [to the regime] is dynamic and relentless. A new generation of dissidents will emerge. They would not negotiate with us. They would come filled with hatred after decades of social discrimination and lack of futile national negotiations,” wrote the state-run Etemad daily on February 14, 2022.
Source » ncr-iran