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Iran has come to the conclusion that a deal with the United States and Europe over its nuclear capabilities no longer meets its cost-benefit analysis. The decarbonizing West may no longer serve as a destination for Iran’s oil and gas, and, in Tehran’s view, cannot be trusted to adhere to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA (even though the same clearly goes for Iran), while the Western economy and political system are no longer viewed favorably in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

China, on the other hand, has emerged as a favorable alternative from Iran’s perspective. Beijing has shown its appetite for Iranian oil and gas over the years, and its growing economy will maintain demand for decades; its thirst for fuel remained even under U.S. sanctions, and it even assisted Tehran in skirting those sanctions. Iran sees in China a country with a centralized political system more in line with its own and that would not pressure Tehran to change its policies, or push for regime change, and may even provide it with better tools to control and monitor the Iranian population.

Moreover, both countries view the United States as their chief strategic rival. They are both pursuing policies to weaken Washington’s power, standing and influence in their respective regions, and develop military capabilities to deny and disrupt the U.S. armed force’s ability to project power into these regions. They have even signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation deal and broadened military ties. As America draws down from the Middle East in order to focus on the “Indo-Pacific,” China may find Iran useful in disrupting Washington’s plans.

But despite the rosy outlook from Tehran, China’s view of Iran is, in fact, more nuanced. It views Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as strong partners in the Middle East and doesn’t want to sour relations with them by embracing Iran. Furthermore, Beijing is still careful not to anger the United States by overtly and comprehensively defying sanctions. On the economic side, while China is willing to invest in Iran as part of its “Belt and Road” initiative, such investment remains limited.

Iran has come to the conclusion that a deal with the United States and Europe over its nuclear capabilities no longer meets its cost-benefit analysis. The decarbonizing West may no longer serve as a destination for Iran’s oil and gas, and, in Tehran’s view, cannot be trusted to adhere to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA (even though the same clearly goes for Iran), while the Western economy and political system are no longer viewed favorably in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

China, on the other hand, has emerged as a favorable alternative from Iran’s perspective. Beijing has shown its appetite for Iranian oil and gas over the years, and its growing economy will maintain demand for decades; its thirst for fuel remained even under U.S. sanctions, and it even assisted Tehran in skirting those sanctions. Iran sees in China a country with a centralized political system more in line with its own and that would not pressure Tehran to change its policies, or push for regime change, and may even provide it with better tools to control and monitor the Iranian population.

Moreover, both countries view the United States as their chief strategic rival. They are both pursuing policies to weaken Washington’s power, standing and influence in their respective regions, and develop military capabilities to deny and disrupt the U.S. armed force’s ability to project power into these regions. They have even signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation deal and broadened military ties. As America draws down from the Middle East in order to focus on the “Indo-Pacific,” China may find Iran useful in disrupting Washington’s plans.

But despite the rosy outlook from Tehran, China’s view of Iran is, in fact, more nuanced. It views Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as strong partners in the Middle East and doesn’t want to sour relations with them by embracing Iran. Furthermore, Beijing is still careful not to anger the United States by overtly and comprehensively defying sanctions. On the economic side, while China is willing to invest in Iran as part of its “Belt and Road” initiative, such investment remains limited.

Source » jns

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