China and Iran: The Century’s Most Important Geo-Strategic Transformation- by Nasser Kandil الصين وإيران أهم تحوّل جيواستراتيجيّ في القرن

The Sino-Iranian “understanding” has become the predominant preoccupation for the strategic planning elites in the United States represented by its deep state, open think tanks, and numerous study centers, and has overturned balances formerly relied on in their thinking and planning. This “understanding” will guarantee the flow of Iranian oil to China at a lower cost and in quantities exceeding oil production in the years preceding the embargo, in exchange for an Iranian resurgence financed by China and executed by Chinese and Iranian companies. Such resurgence will be encompassing and will include development in a large number of areas. It will involve the development in the manufacturing of means of public, clean energy, and commercial transportation: civilian planes, trains, railways, electric cars, commercial vessels and oil tankers; the development of quarries and mines and the manufacture of basic industrial materials: steel, iron, and marble; the building of hospital networks and a modern pharmaceutical industry; the improvement and upgrading of scientific centers for research; the building of electronic factories for the production of computers and smart phones; the building of a new network of giant airports and ports; and large housing projects for new cities. Militarily, it will pave the way for an understanding about the development of Iran’s encryption capabilities and its building up of new encryption systems, building up of bases for building solid fuel and missile manufacturing, and building-up of air-defense systems and satellites.

The Americans estimate that the value of this “understanding” in today’s world price market is 4 trillion U. S. dollars, in spite of its announced value of 500 billion dollars by the China and Iran. They believe that the proclamation of this understanding is, on one hand, the announcement of the death of the American policy of economic sanctions targeting Iran and China, and on the other, the presence of China and its readiness to progress towards the Mediterranean, the Gulf, and the Sea of Oman, through building an advanced political, economic, and services base in Iran. The Americans anticipate a 500% growth in the purchasing power of the Iranian currency, and a 300% growth in individual income in Iran within the first 5 years of this “understanding.”

They believe that Iran will have an economy similar in status to that of Germany and Japan in the 1960’s. They also believe that it will become the first and uncontested military power in the Middle East based on the significant military power it currently possesses, and which (in view of the “understanding”) is expected to dramatically increase.

Some American experts have compared the “understanding” with the agreement between Egypt in the time of President Jamal Abdel Nasser with the former Soviet Union, and believe that the Sino-Iranian “understanding” carries tenfold the danger which the Cairo-Moscow agreement had carried in its golden days. There appears to be a consensus that the “understanding” will lead to the rise of a world giant, namely China, and a regional giant, namely Iran, with only two ways of damage mitigation to the American presence and interests. The first is a quick diffusion of tensions in the Middle East through a speedy resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, in which the United States magically appears as the friend of the Arabs and isolates them from Iran. The second is an American-Russian strategic understanding which includes joint solutions for the crises in the area, and comprehensive joint cooperation in economic, political, and strategic spheres. They point to the petrification in the American strategic and political mind, which has the surface appearance of being pragmatic and not dogmatic, as a definitive obstacle preventing from any step towards mitigation of the serious damage anticipated to result from this “understanding”. Evidence of structural defects in U.S. strategic planning and accompanying political paralysis eliminate any expectation that mitigating steps could be taken.

Experts describe the “understanding” as the most prominent geo-strategic transformation of the century and the beginning of a new international era. They believe that dealing effectively with its consequences is beyond the ability of any U.S. Administration as long as its considerations begin with the protection of the interests of cartels and the military-industrial complex, irrespective of the resulting constant tension with Russia, and the protection of the interest of lobbies supporting Israel, with disregard to the resulting hatred for Americans in Arab and Islamic milieus.

الصين وإيران أهم تحوّل جيواستراتيجيّ في القرن

ناصر قنديل

تنشغل الأوساط الأميركية التي تعبر عن النخبة التخطيطية، أو عن الدولة العميقة، أو عن فرق التفكير المفتوحة، ومراكز الدراسات المتعددة، بقضية باتت تطغى على ما عداها، وقلبت موازين التفكير والتخطيط الأميركيين، عنوانها التفاهم الصيني الإيراني، الذي سيضمن تدفق النفط الإيراني نحو الصين بسعر مخفّض وبكميات تزيد عن كميات الإنتاج الإيراني في زمن ما قبل العقوبات الأميركية، مقابل نهضة إيرانية تموّلها الصين وتنفذها شركات صينية وإيرانية، لتطوير صناعة الطائرات المدنية وقاطرات سكك الحديد ومساراتها، وبناء مصانع للنسيج والجلود والصناعات الغذائية، وتطوير صناعة الصلب والحديد، والرخام والمناجم التعدينية والحجرية، وبناء شبكات مستشفيات ومصانع أدوية حديثة، وتطوير مراكز البحث العلمي، وبناء مصانع لتصنيع الإلكترونيّات بما فيها الحواسيب وأجهزة الهاتف الذكية، إضافة لشبكات جديدة من المطارات والمرافئ العملاقة، والمشاريع السكنية الضخمة لمدن جديدة، ومصانع للسيارات الكهربائية الصديقة للبيئة، والسفن التجارية وناقلات النفط، وعلى الصعيد العسكري، سيتيح التفاهم تطوير قدرات التشفير الإيرانية لبناء أنظمة جديدة للشيفرات، وقواعد لبناء الوقود الصلب لصناعة الصواريخ، وشبكات الدفاع الجوي والأقمار الصناعية.

يقدّر الأميركيون قيمة الاتفاق بالأسعار الرائجة عالمياً الاتفاق بأربعة تريليون دولار، رغم أن المعلن من جانبيه الصيني والإيراني هو خمسمئة مليار دولار، ويعتبرونه إعلان وفاة سياسية للعقوبات الأميركية التي تستهدف إيران من جهة، ومن جهة مقابلة حضوراً للصين بجهوزية التقدم نحو البحر المتوسط والخليج وبحر عمان، من خلال بناء قاعدة متطورة صناعياً واقتصادياً وخدمياً في إيران، ويتوقعون أن يرتفع مستوى القدرة الشرائية للعملة الإيرانية 500% خلال خمس سنوات، وأن يرتفع مستوى دخل الفرد 300% خلال السنوات الخمس الأولى من الاتفاق، ويعتقدون أن إيران ستصبح في وضع اقتصاديّ يشبه كلاً من ألمانيا واليابان في الستينيات من القرن الماضي، بالإضافة للمقدرات العسكرية الهائلة التي تملكها وستزداد، لتصير القوة العسكرية الأولى في الشرق الأوسط بلا منازع.

يقارن الخبراء الأميركيّون هذا الاتفاق باتفاق مصر أيام الرئيس جمال عبد الناصر مع الاتحاد السوفياتي فيقولون إنه اتفاق الصين وإيران يعادل عشر مرات درجة الخطر التي مثلها اتفاق القاهرة وموسكو في أيامه الذهبية، وثمة إجماع على اعتبار الاتفاق طريقاً لنهوض عملاق عالمي هو الصين وعملاق إقليمي هو إيران، لا يمكن الحدّ من الخسائر التي سيجلبها على الحضور والمصالح الأميركية إلا بأحد طريقين، إنهاء سريع للتأزم في المنطقة بحل للصراع العربي الإسرائيلي، بطريقة سحرية تظهر أميركا صديقاً للعرب وتعزل إيران عنهم، أو بتفاهم استراتيجي روسي أميركي، يتضمن حلولاً مشتركة لأزمات المنطقة، وتعاوناً شاملاً في القضايا الاقتصادية والسياسية والاستراتيجية، ويجيبون أن تحجُّر العقل الأميركي الاستراتيجي والسياسي، رغم كونه في الظاهر غير عقائدي وبراغماتي، يشكل عقبة حاسمة دون القدرة على السير بخطوات مناسبة للحد من أضرار هذا الاتفاق، الذي يكفي عدم القدرة على التنبؤ بحدوثه للدلالة على ما تعانيه عملية رسم الاستراتيجيات من مشاكل بنيوية، تجعل السياسة في حال عجز كامل.

الوصف الذي يطلقه الخبراء على الاتفاق، أنه أبرز تحول جيواستراتيجي في القرن، وأنه بداية لمرحلة جديدة على المستوى الدولي، وأن التعامل مع تداعياته يفوق طاقة أي إدارة أميركية، طالما أن حسابات الإدارات تبدأ من مراعاة مصالح كارتلات الصناعات العسكرية رغم ما تتسبب به من توتر مستمر في العلاقة عم روسيا، واللوبيات الداعمة لـ«إسرائيل» وما تتسبب به من كراهية للأميركي في الأوساط العربية والإسلامية.

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موسكو طهران وبكين… نموذج اقتصادي متكامل

د. حسن مرهج

من الواضح أنّ السياسية الصينية في المنطقة تسير وفق مسارين:

الأول – تسعى الصين إلى الالتفاف على العقوبات الأميركية وبناء تحالفات استراتيجية مع دول عديدة تناهض السياسات الأميركية في المنطقة، في محاولة لإنشاء منظومة سياسية وعسكرية واقتصادية، توازي شبكة العلاقات الأميركية قوة وتنظيماً وتأثيراً في سياسات المنطقة.

الثاني – هناك رغبة صينية واضحة لوضع حدّ للتحكم الأميركي في السياسات الدولية والإقليمية، ولا سبيل لوضع آلية تُقيد السياسات الأميركية، إلا بتحالفات مع دول قوية في المنطقة، وعلى رأس تلك الدول الجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية.

انطلاقاّ من هذين المسارين، ترى الصين أنّ إيران واحدة من أهمّ الدول لربط آسيا بأوروبا من خلال مبادرة الحزام والطريق، التي تمثل المحرك الأساس للسياسة الخارجية الصينية منذ أعلنها الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ في العام 2013، ولاعب أساسي في الحفاظ على استقرار منطقة الخليج العربي التي تعدّ الشريان الرئيس لوصول النفط إلى الصين.

وعليه، بات واضحاً أنّ أحد أهمّ أوجه العلاقة الصينية الإيرانية، تعزيز المصالح الاقتصادية والاستراتيجية، بُغية تقويض الأهداف الأميركية في المنطقة، إذ يبدو واضحاً أنّ الصين وإيران تعملان منذ مدّة على شراكة استراتيجية لمدة 25 عاماً، والواضح أيضاً أنّ الشراكة ستسمّى شراكة استراتيجية شاملة بين الصين وإيران.

وبما أنّ علاقات إيران مع الصين جادّة وتشكّل أساس التعاون الاقتصادي والاستراتيجي بين البلدين في شكل وثيقة مدتها 25 عاماً، فمن الطبيعي أن تهتمّ الدول الغربية بهذه العلاقات، وبشكل أساسي فإنّ السياسة الأنجلو ساكسونية للأميركيين والبريطانيين هي التركيز على الضغط على إيران من أجل إبعادها عن الصين وروسيا، لكن فشلت هذه السياسة، وفشلت معها السياسة الأميركية لاستعمار إيران، وما يؤكد هذا الأمر أنّ الصين ستُشارك في “بناء البنية التحتية الأساسية لإيران” كجزء من مبادرة “حزام واحد وطريق واحد”؛ هذا المشروع الذي يُعدّ مشروعاً للتكامل الاقتصادي بين البلدين.

فقد أدركت الصين وإيران وضمناً روسيا، أنّ الاتحاد والتعاون هما الوسيلة الوحيدة لتعزيز التبادل على المستويات كافة، وبات ضرورة لمحاربة المشكلات الداهمة التي يمثلها تنامي النفوذ الأميركي في الشؤون الداخلية للدول، حيث أن النفوذ الأميركي أجبر طهران وبكين وموسكو على تحييد الخلافات الثانوية، وتبني استراتيجية موحدة من أجل المصلحة المشتركة للدفاع عن مصالحهم في المنطقة.

والواضح أن أحداث مثل الحرب على سورية، والأزمة في ليبيا، والإطاحة بالنظام الديمقراطي في أوكرانيا، والعقوبات على إيران، والضغط المباشر على بكين في بحر الصين الجنوبي، كلها عوامل سرّعت في التكامل بين الصين وإيران وروسيا.

في جانب آخر مُتعلق بعمق العلاقة الإيرانية الصينية، نجد أنّ جوهر هذه العلاقة يرتكز على الاقتصاد، في المقابل ومن خلال تحليل القوة الاقتصادية نجد أن المنظمات العابرة للحدود مثل منظمة التجارة العالمية وصندوق النقد الدولي والبنك الدولي، تضمن دور واشنطن كزعيم اقتصادي، والركائز التي تدعم مركزية الولايات المتحدة في الاقتصاد العالمي يُمكن أن تُعزى إلى السياسة النقدية للبنك الاحتياطي الفيدرالي ووظيفة الدولار كعملة احتياط عالمية، خاصة مجلس الاحتياطي الاتحادي لديه قدرة غير محدودة لطباعة النقود ولتمويل القوة الاقتصادية للقطاعين الخاص والعام، وكذلك لدفع الفاتورة الواجبة للحروب المكلفة جداّ، وضمن ذلك فإنّ الدولار الأميركي يلعب دوراً رئيسياً كعملة احتياطية عالمية، وكذلك يستخدم كعملة للتجارة، وهذا يُحتم على كلّ بنك مركزي امتلاك احتياطيات بالعملة الأميركية، وتكريس أهمية واشنطن في النظام الاقتصادي العالمي. من هنا فإنّ إدخال اليوان الصيني والتومان الإيراني في التعاملات التجارية بين بكين وطهران، ومن الممكن أن تتسع مروحة هذه التعاملات بالعملات المحلية للبلدين، لتشمل دولاً عديدة ترغب بالابتعاد عن مخاطر التعامل بالدولار الأميركي، كلّ ذلك وسائل وأجراس إنذار الاستراتيجيين الأميركيين حول خطر تآكل مكانة العملة الأميركية.

في المحصلة، فإنّ الصين وإيران وضمناً روسيا بحاجة لإيجاد نظام اقتصادي بديل، لتأمين الجوانب الحيوية للاقتصاد المحلي، فقد لقد لعب انهيار سوق الأسهم في الصين، وانخفاض قيمة الروبل في روسيا، والعقوبات غير القانونية المفروضة على إيران، دوراً عميقاً في تثبيت أهداف موسكو وطهران وبكين، لإيجاد نقاط التلاقي بين البلدان الثلاثة، ولتشكيل منظومة اقتصادية قادرة على ضعضعة الهيمنة الأميركية على العالم.

Interview: Iran’s former ambassador to China, Mehdi Safari on 25-year historic agreement with China.

Source

Interview: Iran’s former ambassador to China, Mehdi Safari on 25-year historic agreement with China.

July 23, 2020

Interview with the Al-Alam News channel, Iran’s former ambassador to China, Mehdi Safari, revealed his thoughts and important details about the comprehensive 25-year historic agreement currently being finalised between Iran and China.

From: http://middleeastobserver.net/irans-fmr-beijing-envoy-on-comprehensive-25-year-long-deal-with-china/

Description:

In an in-depth interview with the Al-Alam News channel, Iran’s former ambassador to China, Mehdi Safari, revealed his thoughts and important details about the comprehensive 25-year historic agreement currently being finalised between Iran and China.

Al-Alam News

Transcript:

Interviewer:

What is the nature of the policy pursued by Tehran with regards to the East, and is it related to the current situation in Iran?

Safari:

Look. To answer your question, I would say, after the success of the Islamic Revolution, the motto of the (foreign) policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran was “Neither East, nor West”. However, the Islamic Republic had and still has diplomatic relations with all states except Israel and America, which we consider to be our enemies; or if we felt that a side is showing hostile behavior (towards Iran).

You used the slogan “Neither East, nor West”. The part “Neither East” existed when the Soviet Union was still a part of the global system and had its own policies, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation changed its policies. You also saw how our relations with our neighboring countries in the north have developed and become stronger.

First of all, China is neither western nor eastern, as it is located in east Asia. Well, this applies to Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and India. All of these countries are located in East Asia. We had and will always foster diplomatic relations with the aforementioned countries. Therefore, our policy did not change. All the relationships that existed between us and these countries were mutual and equal. But why did this desire for a relationship with China rise to the surface and why did this relationship become strategic? I would like to give you a clarification. To start with, this relationship is needed by both China and us. After the Americans began to besiege China from the east… If you go back in memory, you would remember the issue of the three islands that were the subject of a dispute between China and Japan. Americans wanted to create a disputed area. Then, after the South China Sea issue (the disputed islands), another issue came up with Vietnam and the Philippines regarding Chinese oil reserves. The Chinese also felt that Obama had revived their closed base in northern Australia. They also felt that if they do not find another path across the sea, they might encounter problems that they don’t have the time to deal with, especially with their current trade situation, and the energy-related crisis in general.

Well, China brought up Mr. XI Jinping’s idea about ​​the west, the west of the country, and revived the principle of “One Belt, One Road”, i.e. the Silk Road. In other words, it is turning towards the East. China could have started (its project) from three routes: (1) through Russia to northern Europe, (2) through the Islamic Republic of Iran towards the central and southern European states, or (3) crossing the ocean to head to the continent of Africa.

China launched this project (for many reasons). (First,) in the past, this country used to import only one million barrels of oil in the past. Six years ago, it imported five million barrels. While today, it imports 11, 500, 000 barrels of oil, 5, 500, 000 barrels of which passes through the Persian Gulf. Well, now let us see. Which country has 2, 200 kilometers of maritime borders? The Islamic Republic of Iran. Which country has oil and gas here (in this region)? The Islamic Republic of Iran also. This is the main factor that enables us (Iran) to become China ‘s strategic partner. From the Chinese perspective, energy security is more important than the provision of energy. If energy provision is important, energy security is even more important. Well, who can provide all of these (services)? In this region, we are the ones who can do that.

Second, China is the world’s top trader, to say the least. I personally believe that China enjoys the world’s number one economy. The reason (for this success) is that Americans, who say “we are number one”, print $600 billion or $700 billion four or five times a year and inject them in the market. Now, China wants to guarantee the security of its trading operations in our region, in the Indian Ocean and in the Gulf of Oman. It sees that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the only country fighting terrorism (ISIS) and drug trafficking. So what have these factors succeeded to achieve? It made our country a strategic partner of China.

Interviewer:

Did this policy come after you (Iranians) lost hope in the West? And how is it consistent with the policy of “Neither East, nor West”?

Safari:

First of all, our relationship with China did not begin recently. We have enjoyed strong relations and ties with this country for many years. However, it is a well-known fact that today’s China is significantly different from the China of 10 or 20 years ago. Today’s China is completely different in terms of technology, trade, its construction of power stations, etc. So we can see that China can fulfill our needs. Instead of turning towards Europe and America that are imposing limitations and restrictions on us, we can now get our needs (from China). And when I say now, this does not mean just today. This project was launched 15 or 20 years ago. Take a close look. The Chinese have been working hard and actively in Iran for 20 years. Check the number of dams, power stations, steel plants, mines and petrochemicals (built in Iran by China). Therefore, this relationship did not begin yesterday nor today.

Perhaps China’s political view of the West and America has changed during the past five or six years. Now, it is turning more towards us, to its west – as I’ve mentioned before. The need of the two parties (for this relationship) became bilateral and mutual, which led to setting up a cooperation project that would last for 25 years. Therefore, I can say that this matter (the cooperation) is not related to recent developments. China has been importing our oil for years. We have also been exchanging economic cooperation, finance, and projects in various fields. Why is this subject being discussed now? Regarding our view of the West or East, if we take a look at the comprehensive partnership project with China, we will find that it paves the way for relations with most European states – with Austria, Germany, France, Romania, the former Yugoslavia, or even Sweden – in addition to our neighboring states. I honestly do not know the reason for this great sensitivity over our cooperation with China. Go and take a look at our cooperation and agreements with Austria and Germany. All of these (cooperation) offers were raised in the various specialized joint committees. Therefore, these steps are not new. The motto of the (foreign) policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, “Neither East, nor West”, hasn’t changed. Our view of the former Soviet Union or the West is still the same. However, when the Soviet Union changed its policies and came to the negotiating table, we came to a balanced agreement and started dealing with the Union.

Interviewer:

Does China’s historic anti-colonial policy play a role in Tehran’s decision to turn to the East?

Safari:

Of course. If you noticed, China never had any conflicts with us, nor did it wage any wars against us. There were no border skirmishes or disputes between us. China is a very rich country in terms of culture, and as you mentioned, it is not opportunistic. These factors were important in (our choice) to deal with China. On the other hand, this country (China) had some needs that led it to turn towards our country. Therefore, these needs from both sides were complementary, which led to the crystallization of this comprehensive partnership.

Interviewer:

Do you feel like you were obliged to turn to China, or is this plan a part of Iran’s foreign policy in general?

Safari:

No, I personally think that this is a real strategy that we have been following for almost 20 years. Today, the cooperation project has reached a state of maturity. This project was brought up six years ago during the visit of Mr. Xi Jinping to Iran, but there was a delay from our end. Now I say that this project shouldn’t be delayed any further. We have to begin this project sooner rather than later.

At the time, we were in the midst of talks with the West, and this was, in my opinion, the reason for the delay in the comprehensive partnership project with China. We had this strategy before us 20 or 25 years ago, and we have been engaging in all kinds of cooperation with China. However, the conditions China is living under led it to conclude and sign such an agreement with us. Of course, as I’ve mentioned earlier, when it (China) was turning to the West (for cooperation), it did not sign (any agreements) with us. It rather signed (agreements) with Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, Russia, and other countries, because of the reasons I explained earlier. However, the circumstances surrounding China have changed, due to its trade, economic and political differences with America and the West in general.

Interviewer:

Can you tell us more about this agreement (with China)?

Safari:

This comprehensive partnership includes an energy component. This energy component is divided into two subsections: (1) oil and gas, and (2) the construction of power stations and the use of renewable energy. In the energy component, China pledged to buy our oil for 25 years. And (in return) what do we guarantee for 25 years? To sell our​​ oil to them. China also showed its intention to invest in and provide the necessary financing for our refineries and petrochemical plants, and we too would like this (financing) idea to be put into effect, especially on our coastlines which we use for exportation. With regards to energy and the construction of power plants, there is a willingness by both sides to build power stations in various regions jointly (in terms of financing) as it is considered a part of Iran’s infrastructure.

There is also a section regarding investment in renewable energy. Here, I would like to give an example with regards to solar (power) systems, or solar energy plants. As you know this has two implications. On the one hand, the situation of us here in the Islamic Republic of Iran is more favorable than China in this field. On the other hand, China is one of the highly developed countries and it occupies first place in renewable energies. Every year, it generates about 20 GW of these energies per day around the country. Moreover, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a very suitable place for such projects, (especially keeping in mind) the deserts (we have) and how such projects help (us) fight the problem of desertification in the country.

We would like for the Chinese to come and build solar cell (plants) in Iran, and to develop our power stations. Secondly, regarding electrical energy, you know that the Chinese also rank first in the world in (building) private and public vehicles such as buses. Therefore, we are thinking about starting joint work in this sector in Iran

There is also the subject of transportation, which includes roads and railways. Well if China actually wants to turn to the East and revive the Silk Road, then all the aforementioned is included in the project. China must prepare and start making high-speed trains for the transportation and transit of various goods through the Islamic Republic of Iran to the West, and from the North to the South and vice versa. In other words, (we are referring to) the transit of goods from Chabahar to Mashhad, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, and vice versa; and from Mashhad to Tabriz, Europe, and other states neighboring Iran. Therefore, transportation offers both parties an incentive to cooperate.

With regards to tourism, China has 250 million tourists (that travel) annually, while we have two million tourists. If every year, three million Chinese citizens came (to Iran) with their rich culture, and wandered in the country, we will witness an increase in job opportunities in the field of tourism and handicrafts. You must know that the Chinese love our handicrafts. If it happened that our handicrafts found their way into the Chinese market, i.e. one billion and four hundred million people, imagine if each one of them bought only a vase! When Coca-Cola went to China, and it should not have been allowed to go there, one of the company’s managers said “if each one of them (Chinese people) drank only one can, this would mean one billion and four hundred million cans!” Our handicrafts and carpets are extremely popular in China. We are looking to create job opportunities. If the Chinese were present in the tourism sector and worked to strengthen our infrastructure, we would succeed in attracting Chinese tourists. Once that is done, you would see the significant outcomes of this project.

Interviewer:

What does China want from this agreement?

Safari:

I have already told you about China’s interests, and the conditions the US put China under. The transit of China’s goods, and having access to raw materials, whether from Iran or from the south, in addition to the provision of energy and the maintenance of energy security, are both very important for China. Any disruption that might occur along the trade route, or any difficulty that might arise in the process of obtaining raw materials, can cause the country great problems.

I have told you that we were very late to sign this agreement. Because of this delay, China has gone its own way, and has concluded agreements and treaties with other countries. China reached Europe via Russia, Kazakhstan, the Caspian Sea, Georgia and Azerbaijan. We took too long to establish this partnership. During my last interview I said frankly, we should have signed this joint cooperation agreement six years ago. China had many interests (in working with Iran). We were the ones who took too long (to sign). As for them (Chinese), they secured their interests through (agreements with) other countries.

Interviewer:

Is there any indication that Iran will grant China any concessions?

Safari:

We fought our neighboring country (Iraq) for eight years (to gain back) two inches of land. So do you believe we would give away our islands (to China)? Where was this news written? Who said that? It is these agents of the West who are creating such an atmosphere after they saw that they have failed to achieve their goals of undermining (the achievements) of the Islamic Republic. China came to invest in power stations, and the manufacture of cars and spare parts in these areas. Chabahar Port was mentioned (in the agreement) but for what? In order to transport goods. Kish and Qeshm Islands were mentioned as places for investment in power stations and construction. The news (about giving away our islands) are totally false and beyond belief.

Interviewer:

There are mixed opinions about this agreement with China. What do you have to say about that?

Safari:

Those who are against (this agreement) fell under the influence of (rumors that circulated) on cyberspace, and began to raise these false issues. They think that they can (break this agreement). If you have noticed, the US Secretary of State is against this agreement. (He said) “If this agreement is to be signed, we should not lift the sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran”. This (opposition) indicates that we (Iranians) are on the right track. He (Pompeo) said “for this reason (i.e. lifting the sanctions), we (Iranian) shouldn’t do that (i.e. cooperate with China).” He also says that we and Russia have worked together to kill people in Syria, while (in fact) they (Americans) were supporting ISIS. You (Americans) are claiming that Russia is a bad country, and it kills people. If so, then how do you team up with Russia at the United Nations to maintain sanctions and ensure they are not lifted? That is why it is clear that the West is behind this atmosphere (of opposition to the agreement). Western regimes are creating this atmosphere.

This also applies to reactionary states in the region. How do these reactionary states cooperate with China in the area of ​​investment and give it their oil, but when it comes to the Islamic Republic they say that China should not work with us because (by doing that) it would be supporting terrorism, while we all know that (it is) these (very) states that support ISIS and terrorism in the region?! Therefore, in my opinion, this cooperation is beneficial to both sides. (Certain) foreign states know that such cooperation would help us overcome this impasse.

Interviewer:

Will we witness such an agreement with other states?

Safari:

Let me tell you something. I told other states that a text similar to the text (of this agreement) was presented in most joint committees (between us and these states). It would be interesting for you to know that there are some subjects (that were included in our agreement with China), but we avoided discussing with European states. However, we have signed similar agreements with most European and Asian states.

I hope that we sign the agreement (with China) and launch this project as soon as possible, which is in the interest of both countries. If we start this work (which covers the fields of) tourism, energy, environment, agriculture, health, pharmacy, road construction, and financing, then I promise you we will create more than three million jobs. If about one or three million Iranians got involved with handicrafts, their work will bring prosperity to tourism and handicrafts in our country. We are looking to create jobs. If we get the necessary finance, we will create enough jobs to push our economic wheel forward and begin exporting.

Interviewer:

Which states will oppose this agreement and how are Iran and China planning to face the upcoming obstacles – if there were any?

Safari:

I think that the countries who are against the agreement, and I mean America, Israel and the Arab states, have started to create a hostile environment (regarding this agreement) in cyberspace. I think, for the benefit of our country, we should ignore them. In order to address this issue, we must run these projects as soon as possible so that the Iranian people can witness the results, then these issues will be automatically resolved. Of course, in addition to this atmosphere (of opposition), the West may exert pressure on China to go back on this agreement, and this is an important point. Therefore, we have to further our interests, and implement this agreement in the areas that I’ve mentioned to you. This agreement, especially in (the section regarding) infrastructure projects, can be very beneficial to the Islamic Republic of Iran and to our dear (Iranian) people. Don’t forget my words. I don’t know if I’ve already mentioned this or not. Imam Khomeini (may God bless him and grant him peace), once said: “If Westerners praise you, know that you have made a mistake; and if they disparage you, know that you are on the right path, and continue what you have started.

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الصين تسرّع الخطى عالميّاً فهل يُسرّع لبنان؟

ناصر قنديل

رسمت الصين كقوة صاعدة على المستوى الاقتصادي الدوليّ مشروعها للانتقال خارج الحدود من خلال ما عُرف بخطة الحزام والطريق، الذي يتوزع على محاور عدة أبرزها خطوط سكك حديد وجسور بريّة ضخمة، وطرق بحريّة حديثة بمرافئ مجهزة، تؤمن ربط الصين بأجزاء القارة الآسيويّة كلها وصولاً إلى أوروبا من نوافذ متعددة أهمها روسيا وتركيا، وبمشاركة دولتين أوروبيتين هما اليونان وإيطاليا انضمّتا إلى الخطة الصينية، وفتحتا الباب لاستثمارات صينية تعبيراً عن ذلك، وتقع باكستان آسيوياً في قلب الخطة الصينية عبر استثمار يقارب مئة مليار دولار في مرفأ غوادر، بينما جاء الاتفاق الموقع بين الصين والعراق والذي بلغت قيمته خمسمئة مليار دولار، تطال بناء كل شيء في العراق من الجامعات إلى المستشفيات وسكك الحديد والكهرباء ومحطات المياه وخطوط النفط والغاز، والتي شكلت وفقاً للخبراء سبباً لتحريك الضغوط تحت عنوان ثورة الشارع على حكومة الرئيس عادل عبد المهدي وصولاً لاستقالته، ولا يتبرأ الأميركيّون من مسؤوليتهم عن إسقاطها، من دون أن يتمكن خليفته مصطفى الكاظمي من التبرؤ من الاتفاق الذي وقعه سلفه.

مع غموض مصير الاتفاق الصيني العراقي وبقائه فوق الطاولة، يثبت اتفاقان صينيان كبيران، كل منهما بخمسمئة مليار دولار، واحد مع إيران والآخر مع روسيا، وفيهما عناوين في حقول الطاقة وصناعة الطائرات المدنيّة، وصناعة تكنولوجيا الاتصالات، وتجهيز المرافئ وبناء شبكات متطوّرة لسكك الحديد ومدن سياحية، وعبرهما تصل الصين إلى حدود أوروبا من خلال روسيا، وإلى مياه الخليج وحدود المتوسط عبر إيران، ومن خلالها نحو العراق أو تركيا أو كليهما، بينما يتشارك الروس والإيرانيّون في تشجيع الصين على الاستثمار في سورية، خلافاً لكل التحليلات التي تتحدث عن تضارب مصالح على هذا الصعيد.

يناقش بعض اللبنانيين الانفتاح على الصين بسذاجة وجهل، متخيلين أن الحديث يجري عن دولة نامية، حيث يقع هذا البعض في أوهام ماضي التفوق الأوروبي التقني والصناعي، والتفوق الأميركي الاقتصادي، متجاهلين معنى انضمام إيطاليا لمبادرة الحزام والطريق الصينية، ومتجاهلين معنى نشر أبراج شركة هواوي الصينية في سويسرا وبريطانيا وألمانيا، لاستثمار تقنية الجيل الخامس من أجهزة الاتصالات، الذي يشكل محور الثورة العالمية في التكنولوجيا، ونقطة الارتكاز في الاقتصادات الرقمية الحديثة، ومتجاهلين أن صناعة الدواء العالمي، بما في ذلك الأميركي والأوروبي تتم بنسبة 90% في المصانع الصينية، وأن شركات أميركية عملاقة مثل أبل تصنّع هواتفها الذكية في الصين، وأن مرافئ عالمية كبرى مثل بوسطن وأمستردام تعمل بمعدات صينية بنسبة 80%، وأن اكبر مخزون عالمي من السلع والأموال والمعدات الصناعيّة موجود لدى الصين، وأن الاستثمار الأكبر في سندات الخزينة الأميركية هو الاستثمار الصيني بقيمة تزيد عن ثلاثة تريليونات دولار.

لبنان الذي يملك قيمة استراتيجية في موقعه على البحر المتوسط، وكان الصينيون قد أعربوا عن اهتمامهم بمرفأ طرابلس وبخطوط سكك الحديد وبناء مدن صناعية حرة، يملك أيضاً قيمة مضافة يمثلها القطاع المصرفي الذي ورّطه أصحابه والقيّمون عليه سياسياً ومالياً بعملية تدمير ذاتي، يمكن أن يشكل مصدر اهتمام صيني عبر عن نفسه بسعي الصين ضمن عروضهم للبنان بامتلاك مصرف ومؤسسة مالية، هذا بالإضافة لتوافر أجيال من خبراء بالتقنيات الحديثة في المعلوماتية والاتصالات بين متخرجي الجامعات من اللبنانيين، يندر وجود مثله في العالم العربي يؤهل لبنان لتشكيل منصة تقنية متقدمة للعالم العربي في مجال اقتصاد المعرفة.

الغباء وحده قد يحول دون إفادة لبنان من الفرصة الصينية، بما فيها ما سيحصل عليه إذا وضع ذلك شرطاً لاتفاق اقتصادي استراتيجي، لجهة طلب توظيف صيني برقم قد يصل إلى عشرين مليار دولار في سندات الخزينة اللبنانية بفائدة منخفضة ولمدة تزيد عن عشر سنوات، ما يؤهل لبنان السيطرة على أزمة الديون، والسيطرة على سعر الصرف، فهل يملك اللبنانيون شجاعة الإقدام، أم أن لدعوات الحياد علاقة بمسعى تعطيل هذا التوجّه، تحت شعار الهوية الدينية مرة والثقافية مرة؟

Iran-China pact turbocharges the New Silk Roads

Source

July 11, 2020

Iran-China pact turbocharges the New Silk Roads

China will invest $400 billion in Iran energy and infrastructure but nothing in strategic pact allows for a Chinese troop presence or island handover

By Pepe Escobar republished from Asia Times by permission of author

Two of the US’s top “strategic threats” are getting closer and closer within the scope of the New Silk Roads – the leading 21st century project of economic integration across Eurasia. The Deep State will not be amused.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi blasted as “lies” a series of rumors about the “transparent roadmap” inbuilt in the evolving Iran-China strategic partnership.

That was complemented by President Rouhani’s chief of staff, Mahmoud Vezi, who said that “a destructive line of propaganda has been initiated and directed from outside Iran against the expansion of Iran’s relations with neighbors and especially (with) China and Russia.”

Vezi added, “this roadmap in which a path is defined for expansion of relations between governments and the private sectors is signed and will continue to be signed between many countries.”

To a great extent, both Mousavi and Vezi were referring to a sensationalist report which did not add anything that was not already known about the strategic partnership, but predictably dog-whistled a major red alert about the military alliance.

The Iran-China strategic partnership was officially established in 2016, when President Xi visited Tehran. These are the guidelines.

Two articles among the 20 listed in the agreement are particularly relevant.

Item 7 defines the scope of the partnership within the New Silk Roads vision of Eurasia integration: “The Iranian side welcomes ‘the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ initiative introduced by China. Relying on their respective strengths and advantages as well as the opportunities provided through the signing of documents such as the “MOU on Jointly Promoting the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ and ‘MOU on Reinforcement of Industrial and Mineral Capacities and Investment’, both sides shall expand cooperation and mutual investments in various areas including transportation, railway, ports, energy, industry, commerce and services.”

And item 10 praises Iran’s membership of the AIIB: “The Chinese side appreciates Iran’s participation as a ‘Founding Member’ of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. Both sides are willing to strengthen their cooperation in the relevant areas and join their efforts towards the progress and prosperity of Asia.”

So what’s the deal?

The core of the Iran-China strategic partnership – no secret whatsoever since at least last year – revolves around a $400 billion Chinese investment in Iran’s energy and infrastructure for the next 25 years. It’s all about securing a matter of supreme Chinese national interest: a steady supply of oil and gas, bypassing the dangerous bottleneck of the Strait of Malacca, secured with a median 18% discount, and paid in yuan or in a basket of currencies bypassing the US dollar.

Beijing will also invest roughly $228 billion in Iranian infrastructure – that’s where the AIIB comes in – over 25 years, but especially up to 2025. That ranges from building factories to badly needed energy industry renovation, all the way to the already in progress construction of the 900 km-long electric rail from Tehran to Mashhad.

Tehran, Qom and Isfahan will also be linked by high-speed rail – and there will be an extension to Tabriz, an important oil, gas and petrochemical node and the starting point of the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline.

All of the above makes total sense in New Silk Road terms, as Iran is a key Eurasian crossroads. High-speed rail traversing Iran will connect Urumqi in Xinjiang to Tehran, via four of the Central Asian “stans” (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) all the way to West Asia, across Iraq and Turkey, and further on to Europe: a techno revival of the Ancient Silk Roads, where the main language of trade between East and West across the heartland was Persian.

The terms of aerial and naval military cooperation between Iran and China and also Russia are still not finalized – as Iranian sources told me. And no one has had access to the details. What Mousavi said, in a tweet, was that “there is nothing [in the agreement] about delivering Iranian islands to China, nothing about the presence of military forces, and other falsehoods.”

The same applies to – totally unsubstantiated – speculation that the PLA would be granted bases in Iran and be allowed to station troops in Iranian territory.

Last Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed Iran and China had been negotiating “with confidence and conviction” and there was “nothing secret” about the agreement.

Iranian, Chinese and Russian negotiators will meet next month to discuss terms of the military cooperation among the top three nodes of Eurasia integration. Closer collaboration is scheduled to start by November.

Geopolitically and geoeconomically, the key take away is that the US relentless blockade of the Iranian economy, featuring hardcore weaponized sanctions, is impotent to do anything about the wide-ranging Iran-China deal. Here is a decent expose of some of the factors in play.

The Iran-China strategic partnership is yet another graphic demonstration of what could be deconstructed as the Chinese brand of exceptionalism: a collective mentality and enough organized planning capable of establishing a wide-ranging, win-win, economic, political and military partnership.

It’s quite instructive to place the whole process within the context of what State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed at a recent China-US Think Tanks meeting, attended, among others, by Henry Kissinger:

“One particular view has been floating around in recent years, alleging that the success of China’s path will be a blow and threat to the Western system and path. This claim is inconsistent with facts, and we do not agree with it. Aggression and expansion are never in the genes of the Chinese nation throughout its 5,000 years of history. China does not replicate any model of other countries, nor does it export its own to others. We never ask other countries to copy what we do. More than 2,500 years ago, our forefathers advocated that ‘All living things can grow in harmony without hurting one another, and different ways can run in parallel without interfering with one another’”.

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