Few days after Arab states of the Middle East launched their bid to reinforce ties with China, Iran and China announced the implementation of a comprehensive cooperation agreement. Iranian foreign minister landed in Beijing few days after his Arab counterparts.
Iran and China inked an extensive cooperation accord last year for a period lasting for 25 years. Amirabdollahian, in a recent visit to Beijing, announced the start of implementation process of the agreement. The announcement was made three days ago by Iranian foreign minister in his first official trip to china.
The abrupt announcement about the implementation of the agreement attracted the attentions in the press conference. “While preparing for the visit to China, we had made preparations to be able to mark today as the starting day of implementing the comprehensive agreement between the two countries,” Iranian minister explained.
The diplomatic settlements for the agreement ended 10 months ago while former president took hold of power. While both governments are subject to varying grades of US sanctions, the strategic deal means to encompass economic, political, and security cooperation.
Beijing has been one of the rare governments that kept importing Iranian oil in contravention of Washington’s sanctions since 2018. The details about the agreement is yet to be published, but the remarks indicate massive strategic ties that might be decisive in regional and trans-regional developments.
Iranian minister also offered the Chinese President a letter from his Iranian counterpart. Amirabdollahian stressed that the letter held a “important message” regarding the future of ties between Iran and China.
The Iranian foreign minister didn’t comment on the details of the letter. Iran by the way, has consistently emphasized an “Asian-centric” foreign strategy that addresses Beijing as a key player. Iran’s abrupt move is explained in light of the recent developments revolving Beijing.
Iran and China; An Emerging New Power Bloc
Amirabdollahian’s visit occurred at a critical moment in regional affairs. Chinese foreign minister had talks with delegates from Arab states a few days earlier. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey were among the countries with ministers of whom Yi had separate meetings.
China also restated its objection to restrictive economic and political measures by Washington against Tehran. Beijing has voiced its support to attempts to resurrect a 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and foreign nations.
A report of Wang’s talks with his Iranian counterpart on Friday was out a day later. Chinese state councilor and foreign minister argued that the US was to blame for the ongoing tensions with Iran. He believes that Washington’s 2018 unilateral exit from the deal kicked off the disputes that could lead to military face-off.
Iran accepted restricting its nuclear program in form of enrichment under the provisions of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The measure meant to make it more difficult for Tehran to obtain nuclear weapons. Lifting global sanctions was the reward that Tehran would receive in return for its goodwill concerning the nuclear activities.
Tehran openly welcomed the original accord as it recurrently stressed on having no intention to attain nuclear weapon. Washington’s violation of accord, as such, opened the way for Tehran to take a direct route to become a threshold nuclear power.
Since Washington’s withdrawal, Tehran increased the enrichment rate to 60%, produced more advanced centrifuges and increased its plutonium reservoir. Washington’s policy had political consequences too.
Iran and China have built better cooperation framework since 2018. The rivals to US policies are leading a way that might end in building a new power bloc. Washington, in fact, provided Beijing with what it could attain much harder alone.