Photo Credit: Thomas Peter/Pool Photo
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing, May 13, 2020.

The new, 25-year deal between China and Iran reported extensively by Iran’s news agencies is certain to create at least two new facts on the ground that will affect the entire globe and most profoundly the Middle East: 1. China has moved in to counterbalance three years of American economic war against Tehran which resulted in the Islamic Republic being on the brink of an economic and political collapse; and 2. China has moved in to become the third major player with deep roots in the region.

A somewhat testy response from Arab News suggested “the deal appears to be a colonial agreement, in which the ruling mullahs are granting a foreign country significant rights over Iran’s resources.”

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China will invest close to $400 billion in Iran’s ailing economy in the first five years of the deal: $280 billion in oil, gas and petrochemicals, and $120 billion in transport and manufacturing.

In return, China will get priority in bidding on any new project in Iran connected to oil, gas, petrochemicals, transport and manufacturing – or, in short, absolutely everything. And in every one of these projects, China will be guaranteed a 12% discount and may delay payments for two years. Also, China is free to pay in any currency it wishes, which, as experts have put it, could drive up its economic power in these projects by 30% and more.

In other words, a desperate Iran has mortgaged its future to the Chinese for a quarter century – and not a minute too soon.

“The Iranian regime has become so desperate economically that it is violating its own revolutionary values,” claimed Dr. Majid Rafizadeh in Arab News (Iranian regime betrays its principles with China deal). Indeed, with this lifesaver deal, Iran has become yet another colonized territory governed by outside interests – the only difference between the Mullah and the deposed Shah being that he bowed to American and British imperialistic pressures and his Islamic heirs are bowing to Russia and now China.

ILNA quoted Iranian Ambassador to China Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh who said that rumors about his country ceding a group of islands in the Persian Gulf to China, or Chinese military forces being deployed in Iran as part of the framework of Iran-China cooperation are “ridiculous and somehow negative propaganda.”

So it’s true.

The new deal will certainly bring new political prowess to the Tehran gang. ILNA, yet another official news outlet in Iran, interviewed Michael J. Butler, a member of the Governing Council of the international think tank International Studies Association-Northeast, and asked him regarding President Trump’s plan to extend the UN arms embargo beyond October 2020. Butler said he expected Russia and China to veto the US embargo in the UN Security Council. He also believes the European signatories on the JCPOA are interested in restoring the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, with or without the US.

And given the possibility of a senior member of the Obama administration that forged this deal coming back in November – there is a very good chance JCPOA will be restored, with or without some cosmetic changes.

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