The memorandum of understanding between China and Iran signed on Saturday 27 March is clearly a continuation of the Go West policy devised by Chinese President Xi Jinping, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative.
However, this policy involves several steps that need elucidating, including the Chinese influence that is set to achieve an economic interest worth over $400 billion over the next 25 years during which China is guaranteed low-priced imports of Iranian oil and gas.
According to public data, Iran is in desperate need for huge investments totalling $200 billion in the energy sector alone after all the years of US sanctions and having squandered significant funds in serving America’s initiatives in the region. America’s silence over an agreement of such magnitude reflects her approval amid Iran’s disappointment with the Biden administration despite Iran’s continued contribution to the initiatives of the US, and amid the escalating Sino-American struggle in the context of China’s bid to defend her global economic interests and her adherence to her secluded political and intellectual system which America has been unable to infiltrate, and amid the approaches of the Iranian regime which is facing an electoral battle next May as the political opposition continues to invest in the wretched economic and political situation, and the approaches of the US who relishes the unique and beneficial Chinese initiatives which may seem as escalation and jostling for influence in the Middle East, including the Iranian nuclear file and the Palestinian issue. All this is well known to observers to be in the interests of the US in terms of harnessing China in the “war of models” and turning her into a paper tiger threatening the US, thus warranting a tendency to heal domestic rifts and rally the democratic capitalist states and the countries of southeast Asia behind the US. It also turns China into a rival to Europe in the most important regions with European vital interests, namely the Middle East and Africa; this in turn would deepen the Europeans’ dependence on the US. This narrative was expressed by Joe Biden last week when he called on democratic states to face up to China and her intercontinental projects.
In a nutshell, the Sino-Iranian memorandum of understanding has dealt the European efforts to return to the US-Iranian nuclear deal of 2015 a heavy blow and corroborated the themes America has outlined in respect of the relationship with China, as well as the American vision vis-à-vis the Chinese threats on Europe. The memorandum has also implicitly called on Europe to respond to the American dictates.
On the other hand, once the memorandum of understanding is implemented, it will enable Iran to get an outlet from the US sanctions and would increase the credentials of the ruling reformist movement in Iran in the May 2021 elections. This explains the scathing attack by the leaders of the conservative movement, such as Ahmadinejad, on the memorandum of understanding.
The effective and radical role Iran has been playing in serving the American initiative is conspicuous. She has been acting as the scarecrow that has pushed the countries of the region to overtly throw themselves into the embrace of the usurping entity and facilitated its security, economic and military integration into the region. It is also imperative to perceive that the Iranian role will not end with Saudi’s normalisation and with the clipping of the Iranian surrogates’ wings; if anything, the continuance of the Mullahs’ regime on the political scene constitutes an American necessity in the middle-term to continue exerting pressure on the regimes to complete the steps of Arab-Israeli integration and the reshaping of the Middle East. This is clearly reflected in the deliberate extension of the diplomatic activity with Iran over the sanctions and in America’s announcement that she intends to add the demands of the allies and partners to any long-term agreement. Hence, any Sino-Iranian agreement may be viewed within the context of rescuing Iran financially, keeping her on the road to recovery and helping her avert collapse, projecting Chinese activity as a geopolitical rival to America and accusing China of helping rogue states such as Venezuela, Iran, North Korea and Myanmar. In addition to the US interests, the memorandum serves the American initiative that calls for liberal democracy, and Western values. This was indicated by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken who said “China is the only country with the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to seriously challenge the stable and open international system” (nbcnews 03/03/2021)
Moreover, America’s decision to pave the way for China’s escalation and for what looks like a Chinese invasion of the Middle East and Africa would shore up the policy of alliances that Biden called for during his inaugural address in order to contain the Europeans who were dubbed by the official spokesperson of China’s foreign ministry as “America’s allies” on the one hand, and contain Russia and China on the other; this would enable America to harness all sides to operate within her international initiative to ensure her leadership over them.
Copyright © LCIR 2021