Iran – New Member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Iran – New Member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

September 18, 2021

Peter Koenig and PressTV

On 17 September 2021 Iran has become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). It is an extraordinary achievement and new beginning for US and wester sanction-badgered Iran. On the occasion PressTV interviewed me on what this great move might bring for Iran. See the transcript below.

PressTV Question:

1.       Iran is finally a member of the SCO. It is said this solidifies a block to stand up to the West and US hegemony: will it be able to do that, and is the era of unilateralism over?

PK Reply:

First, my deepest and heartfelt congratulations for this extraordinary event – Iran the latest member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization – SCO.
Bravo!

Yes, this will definitely open new doors, prosperous doors with new relations in the East. SCO with the current membership covers close to 50% of the world population and accounts for about one third of the world’s GDP.

Being a member of this organization, will take a lot of pressure away in terms of western sanctions, western impositions, monetary manipulations via the US dollar as a remedy for payment.
No more.

Iran is now free to deal in her own currency and in Yuan as well as in any currency of the SCO members, because western-type trade currency restrictions do not exist in SCO member countries.

This will drastically reduce the potential for US / western sanctions and will increase on the other hand, Iran’s potential to deal with the East, i.e., especially China and Russia; entering partnership agreements with these and other SCO countries, benefitting from comparative advantages. It may open-up a new socio-economic era for Iran.

Also, in terms of defense strategy – although SCO is not a military defense organization per se, but it offers strategic defense assistance and advice – and as such is a solidifying force for member countries.
SCO also respects countries’ autonomy and sovereignty – and facilitates trade arrangements between member countries.

Having said this, Iran must not lose sight of potentially disrupting internal factors, like the so-called Fifth Columnists – those who will keep pulling towards the west, and they are particularly dangerous as infiltrates in the financial sector, Treasury, Ministry of Finance, Central Bank, and so on. They are everywhere, also in Russia and China. But internal Iranian awareness and caution will help manage the risks and eventually overwhelm it. Russia has gone along way in doing so. And so has China. And so will Iran. I’m confident.

Again, excellent momentum to celebrate. – Congratulations!

——-

2.       Iran will also be part of the different regional bodies in neighborhood regions, including Eurasia, that could spontaneously break the “sanctions wall” and lead to diversified fruitful foreign relations. Does this mean the US sanctions will not be as effective?

PK Reply

Yes, absolutely. Regional bodies and trading arrangements within Eurasia – such as The Eurasian Economic Union – EAEU – has an integrated single market of 180 million people and a GDP of some 5 trillion dollars equivalent and growing. It covers eight countries of which 3 have observer status.

Other than trading with the members of the Eurasian Economic Union, the EAEU also has trading agreements as an entity with other countries, for example with Singapore.

Then there is maybe the most important trade deal in world history, the ten ASEAN countries, plus China, as well as Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand – but not the United States. Thus, no dealings in US dollars, no potential for US sanctions. This Trade Agreement is called The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). It was signed in November 2020 on the occasion of the annual summit of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

RCEP countries have a combined GDP of US$ 26.2 trillion or about 30% of global GDP, and they account for nearly 28% of global trade (based on 2019 figures). Total population of RCEP countries is 2.3 billion, roughly 30% of the world’s inhabitants.

Negotiation of this trade deal took 8 years. The longest ever. And it will of course, take time to reach the full potential of integrating the sovereign countries economies. In contrast to the European Union, RCEP will to the utmost possible preserve each country’s sovereignty. This is important in the long-run, especially for conservation of national cultures, ideologies and national development strategies.

There maybe a good chance for Iran to negotiate early entry into the RCEP Agreement. It will definitely be a blow to US sanctions – and on the other hand a tremendous opportunity for diversification of markets, production and consumption.

Again, congratulations. Being a member of the SCO is an extraordinary achievement. As, I always say – the future is in the East.

Best of luck to Iran, with new partners and new friends.

—–
Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he has worked for over 30 years on water and environment around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020)

Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He is also is a non-resident Sr. Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

Weaponizing Dollar | 10 Minutes

Sep 1, 2021

Watch this episode of 10 minutes to find out more

IRG’s Top Commander: Producers of Biological Weapons Can’t Be Trusted with Vaccines

 August 24, 2021

Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander (IRGC) Major-General Hossein Salami
Iranian Revolutionary Guards Commander (IRGC) Major-General Hossein Salami

The chief commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [IRG], Major General Hossein Salami, confirmed that the country is doing its best to contain the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

He further stated that Iran will only import vaccine from reliable countries, not those countries that are known producers of biological weapons.

Salami made the remarks at a provincial meeting on the situation of the coronavirus pandemic in Iran, which was held on Monday in the central province of Isfahan.

“Under conditions caused by this disease, there were many people who wanted us to extend our hands toward enemies. However, we have no trust in them and we cannot trust our society’s health to those enemies, who have made production of biological weapons part and parcel of their strategy to confront their enemies,” the IRG’s chief commander said.

The top commander noted that Iran has taken steps to import coronavirus vaccine from reliable countries while, at the same time, doing its best to produce domestic vaccines.

Noting that paralyzing the Iranian nation is the enemies’ biggest with, Salami added, “Even under conditions caused by the coronavirus, we must continue to boost the society’s health status by relying on the principles of dignity, independence and trust.”

He emphasized that Iran is different from all other countries, because it is grappling with the deadly disease while being also under cruel international sanctions.

In parallel, the IRG chief stressed that the country cannot use its money even to pay for medicine and meet its vital needs due to the sanctions.

“In addition to coronavirus [pandemic], we are also faced with international sanctions as well as enemies’ media and psychological operations. Such conditions do not exist at the same time at any point in the world,” the IRG chief commander noted.

The sanctions were imposed by the administration of former US President Donald Trump under a “maximum pressure” campaign and have been maintained by the current administration of Joe Biden, which has refused to soften the bans to ease pandemic-related hardship on Iranians.

Source: Mehr News Agency

Islamophobic or Blindly Malicious? US Seizes Quranic Tiles from Iran for Virginia Mosque

August 10, 2021

Islamophobic or Blindly Malicious? US Seizes Quranic Tiles from Iran for Virginia Mosque

By Staff, Agencies

Among the weirdest news a person might hear is that an enemy combats a religion’s culture and civilization.

It is either an aspect of Islamophobia, which is highly unlikely, or a blind maliciousness that the US custom authorities confiscated a set of Iranian tiles to be used in construction of a new mosque in Virginia, demanding they “must be shipped backed to Iran or destroyed.”

The tiles, which are adorned with Quranic verses, were shipped in June from the Iranian city of Qom, to be used in construction of the Manassas Mosque in northern Virginia.

However, they were confiscated at Dulles International Airport after they were deemed to violate sanctions on Iran, the mosque’s imam Abolfazl Nahidian said on Tuesday.

The tiles were a gift and he paid no money for them, but custom authorities at the airport blocked him from claiming them citing the sanctions, he told a news conference at the mosque.

A letter from Customs and Border Protection informed the mosque that the tiles must be either shipped back to Iran or destroyed, the Associated Press cited him as saying.

Destroying the tiles, which are adorned with Quranic verses, “is the same as destroying verses of the Quran, or the whole Quran itself”, Nahidian said.

The mosque is now asking the Biden administration to release the custom-made tiles.

Nahidian said he has received other tile shipments throughout the years without incident, including one shipment that arrived eight months ago. He has led the mosque for nearly three decades.

The Biden administration is locked in a standoff over the US return to a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, showing an aversion to remove the most draconian sanctions which its predecessor imposed on the Islamic Republic.

Biden has admitted that Washington was wrong to abandon the nuclear agreement, but he is showing an urge to retain some aspects of the sanctions as leverage to pressure Iran.

Food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are purportedly exempt from the sanctions that Washington imposed on Tehran after former president Donald Trump walked away from the international deal over Iran’s nuclear program.

But the US measures targeting everything from oil sales to shipping and financial activities have deterred any dealing with Iranians – including humanitarian activities.

Calling Sanctions by Their Name: Rania Khalek on US Mideast Genocide

August 06th, 2021

By Mnar Adley

Source

Critics of sanctions argue that they are a blatant breach of international law and that they are a new form of economic warfare.

Around one quarter of the world lives in countries under unilateral United States sanctions. While American government officials insist that sanctions are targeted at officials committing human rights abuses in foreign countries, the United Nations notes that they always “disproportionately affect the poor and most vulnerable.”

In Cuba, U.S. sanctions are causing shortages that led to widespread protests earlier this summer and are slowing the worldwide rollout of Cuba’s domestically produced coronavirus vaccine. U.S. government documents explicitly state that the goal of the blockade of the island is to “decrease monetary and real wages, to bring about hunger, desperation and [the] overthrow of [the] government.”

U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, too, have been widely condemned, and are estimated to have caused the deaths of over 100,000 people.

It is in the Middle East, however, where U.S. economic measures have arguably had the most impact. Our guest today has first-hand experience of this. Rania Khalek is a Lebanese-American journalist based in the Middle East. In addition to being a presenter on Breakthrough News, she is co-host of the Unauthorized Disclosure podcast. You may also have seen her work in ​​The Grayzone, The Intercept, Truthout, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, Al-Jazeera, The Nation, Salon, AlterNet or Vice.

Today, Khalek speaks about the impact of sanctions across the Middle East and the current political situation in Lebanon, Syria and beyond.

In Iraq in the 1990s, U.S. sanctions are thought to have cost the lives of around 1 million people, including half a million children under five years old. Successive United Nations diplomats tasked with overseeing the sanctions regime resigned in protest, citing a breach of the Genocide Convention. “I’ve been using the word ‘genocide’ because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq. I’m afraid I have no other view,” said former U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq Dennis Halliday. When pressed on the issue, then-Secretary of State Madeline Albright did not dispute the numbers, merely assuring “60 Minutes” that “the price is worth it.”

Today, much of the region — including Syria, Iran and Lebanon — is under similar, crushing American sanctions. At the height of the pandemic, Iran was unable to import personal protective equipment, medicine and other medical goods, as no country wanted to risk Washington’s ire by trading with Tehran. In the end, the World Health Organization itself stepped in, directly trading with the Islamic Republic, one key factor in the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the body last year.

Meanwhile in Lebanon, the country is struggling to recover from an enormous explosion that wiped out much of central Beirut last year. Food and electricity remain in short supply.

Critics of sanctions argue that they are a blatant breach of international law and that they are a new form of economic warfare. One former United Nations special rapporteur described them as akin to a medieval siege. At a time when both countries are trying to recover from destruction caused by a catastrophic explosion or years of war, Lebanon and Syria’s economic situation is being intentionally held back by Washington, as Khalek explained today.

Endorsed by Imam Khamenei, Raisi Becomes Iran’s 8th President

Endorsed by Imam Khamenei, Raisi Becomes Iran’s 8th President

By Staff, Agencies

Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi is now officially the 8th president of the Islamic Republic of Iran after his mandate was endorsed by Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei at a ceremony in Tehran, weeks after the ex-Judiciary chief won the country’s 13th presidential election by a landslide.

During the inauguration ceremony, the Iranian President-elect asserted the importance of religion in the various aspects of life, saying, “Let the world learn the religion can rule in the modern life”.

Raisi shed light on the achievements of the Islamic Republic and said, “In the past 40 years, Iran has achieved development and power”.

He further added, “Iranians have scored a new epic by making enemies despair”.

“The Iranian elections were held despite all circumstances and problems”, Raisi explained and added that “the people’s epic has had clear messages, atop of which is transformation, change, justice, fighting poverty and discrimination”.

He went on to say, “The people’s message was to change the economic situation and the inflation that exceeded 44%, in parallel with the growth of the monetary mass and the increase in the government’s debts”.

Elsewhere in his inaugural speech, the former Judiciary chief slammed Iran’s enemies for the economic situation Iran has been facing, “We are suffering from hard economic circumstances because of the enemies, this situation should change and we will work to lift the unjust sanctions”.

“The people want a transformation and a change”, Raisi said, adding, “The government’s program is based on this idea and we are confident that we will solve all our problems and that we are able to do this”.

At the end of his speech, Raisi asserted that the new Iranian administration has “lots of things to do” and that it has pin-pointed a number of problems that “we will solve immediately”.

“I am the servant of the people”, the president-elect concluded.

Imam Khamenei’s decree, endorsing the presidential mandate of Raeisi, was read out at the event by head of the leader’s office.

Imam Khamenei at Raisi Inauguration Ceremony: Iran Needs Competent, Wise, Brave Management

Imam Khamenei at Raisi Inauguration Ceremony: Iran Needs Competent, Wise, Brave Management

By Staff, Khamenei.ir

The following is the full text of the decree endorsing the Presidency of Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi, issued on August 3, 2021 by the Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei.

In the endorsement decree, Imam Khamenei emphasized, “Today, our dear country is thirsty for a competent, jihadi, intelligent, courageous management that can organize and bring the manifest and hidden capabilities of the nation into the field for constructive work and endeavor”.

In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon Muhammad, and upon his pure Household, particularly the remnant of Allah on earth.

I thank God, the Omniscient and Omnipotent, Who has helped Iran once more with His grace and benevolence, to be honored in its political, social test of the presidential elections. Our esteemed nation displayed the authority of its vote over the affairs of the country with its significant, honorable presence in complex, difficult circumstances. By electing a popular, distinguished personage from among the descendants of the Prophet and a scholar who is adorned with great piety and wisdom and who has a brilliant managerial performance sheet, the people of Iran have shown their firm determination to tread the enlightened path of the Revolution, which is the path of justice, progress, freedom and dignity.

Today, our dear country is thirsty for valuable service and is ready to make a leap in all areas. The country needs competent, jihadi, intelligent, courageous management that can organize the manifest and hidden capabilities of the nation – in particular those of the youth, which are much greater in scope than the problems. A management is needed that can bring these capabilities into the field for constructive work and endeavor, eliminate the obstacles in the way of production, seriously pursue policies for strengthening the national currency and which can empower the middle and lower classes of society that are shouldering the burden of economic problems. Such a manager can smooth the path for the worldly and spiritual ascendance of the Iranian nation and accelerate the movement of the country toward the status that it deserves.

While thanking our dear people and in accordance with their choice, I endorse the victory of the knowledgeable, untiring, experienced, popular scholar, Hujjat al-Islam wal-Muslimeen Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi, and I appoint him as the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

I ask God, the Exalted, to bestow success and honor on him and his colleagues. I wish to remind everyone that the opinion of the nation and my endorsement will be with him as long as the President continues to travel the straight path of Islam and the Revolution. With God’s grace, this is the way it will be, God willing.

Greetings upon God’s righteous servants

 

Sayyed Ali Khamenei

August 3, 2021

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How to Undermine a Diplomatic Triumph

About me

26 July 2021

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—The Backstory

The true status of current negotiations to reinstate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran is unknown to the American public—most of whom are tragically indifferent to the outcome. This is so even though the successful negotiation of this deal with Iran back in 2015 represents one of the greatest triumphs of diplomacy in the last hundred years. What we do know is this triumph was followed by tragedy—a premeditated tragedy—the sort of tragedy only fools can produce. But very few Americans care. That is the way it is with foreign policy. On the one hand, you can start wars to great public acclaim, and on the other, you can destroy hard-won diplomatic achievements almost without public notice. 

At the end of President Obama’s term of office (January 2017) the JCPOA was complete and in force. In exchange for a lifting of “nuclear-related sanctions,” Iran undertook not to pursue research that might allow her to develop nuclear weapons. Up until May of 2018 “Iran’s compliance has been repeatedly verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which oversees the most intrusive inspections regime ever negotiated.” It was in May of 2018 that Donald Trump, perhaps the most despicable human being to hold the presidency since Andrew Jackson, withdrew from the JCPOA, apparently for two reasons: (1) was the treaty was completed by Obama and Trump wanted to destroy the achievements of his non-white predecessor, and (2) Trump thought he could bully the Iranians into a “better deal.” It is important to note that the other signatories to the treaty did not initially follow Trump’s lead. “The leaders of France, the United Kingdom, and Germany issued a joint statement on behalf of their countries that reemphasized their support for the deal and its importance to the nonproliferation regime.” The United Nations expressed “deep concern” over Trump’s decision and released a statement in support of the JCPOA. Russia’s Foreign Ministry also reiterated its support for the JCPOA, and further stated that “U.S. actions compromise international trust in the IAEA.”

How did the Iranians react to Trump’s withdrawal from the treaty and reimposition of harsh sanctions? At first, Tehran suggested that if the other signatories to the agreement would remain loyal to their obligations, Iran too would keep to the treaty. Unfortunately, most of the European nations involved would soon succumb to U.S. economic pressure and cease to hold to their obligations. Nonetheless, it was not until a year following Trump’s irresponsible act that Iran announced that “The Islamic Republic of Iran in reaction to the exit of America from the nuclear deal and the bad promises of European countries in carrying out their obligations will restart a part of the nuclear activities which were stopped under the framework of the nuclear deal.” Even while the Iranian government took this position, it insisted that if at any time the United States returned to the treaty and removed all nuclear-related sanctions, Iran too would return to its obligations. Tehran even suggested a process whereby the U.S. and Iran would take simultaneous steps to that end. 

Everyone but Trump devotees, Israel and its supporters, and those Iranian exiles who would like to see the return of the country’s monarchy recognized that the U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA had been a mistake. Accordingly, in the campaign run-up to the 2020 presidential election in the U.S., the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, promised that upon election he would rejoin the treaty if Iran returned to compliance as well. 

Biden did win, but he has not yet fulfilled his promise. Instead, he entered an extended period of negotiations that is still ongoing. At first it was said that these were about “who goes first” when it comes to returning to requirements of the treaty. Was Iran to give up the small steps in nuclear enrichment since the Trump withdrawal, or was the U.S. going to go first in removing the draconian sanctions placed on Iran by the Trump administration? It was Iran who realized the childish nature of this question and offered a simultaneous return to the compliance mentioned above. While the Biden administration rejected this offer, it has been reported that now both sides are working toward “simultaneous, sequential steps” back to requirements of the treaty. 


Part II—Misleading the American Public


In the meantime, the Biden administration has been releasing misinformation to the public. For instance, Biden has insisted that sanctions relief depends on Iran “returning to compliance.” But, of course, for anyone familiar with the relevant events, it was Washington that broke the treaty and needed to return to compliance. Any subsequent Iranian actions following Trump’s folly were, and still are, perfectly legal under the terms of the JCPOA. Joe Biden can continue to justify draconian economic sanctions in this way—sanctions that are ruining the lives of millions—only because he is addressing an ignorant American audience. 

When Iran failed to be bullied, Biden’s diplomats adopted a “shift the blame” tactic. In May 2021, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “Iran, I think, knows what it needs to do to come back into compliance on the nuclear side, and what we haven’t yet seen is whether Iran is ready and willing to make a decision to do what it has to do. That’s the test and we don’t yet have an answer.” Translation: the American people should know that we, the Biden administration, are trying, but those Iranians seem to be too thick-headed to do what is necessary. So if the whole thing fails, it is their fault and not ours. 

Blinken went on, “If both sides can return to the original deal, then we can use that as a foundation both to look at how to make the deal itself potentially longer and stronger—and also [to] engage on these other issues, whether it’s Iran’s support for terrorism [or] its destabilizing support for different proxies throughout the Middle East.”

That scenario will not encourage the Iranians. They have repeatedly stated that the JCPOA, and the present negotiations, are about two things: sanctions and the scope of nuclear development. It is not about Iranian foreign policy, which has been so blandly assumed to be “terrorism” by both Trump and Biden. If Mr. Blinken keeps tagging on these extras, we will still be running in circles come Christmas.   

What is the diplomatic aim of the Biden administration? Is it to pursue the Democrats’ traditional, and bankrupt, aim of sounding as tough on foreign policy as the Republicans? That irrelevant goal (remember most Americans don’t care about foreign policy) would not be surprising coming from a professional Democratic politician of Joe Biden’s generation. However, after all the work that has gone into the JCPOA and all the suffering endured by the Iranian population due to brutal U.S. sanctions, such a petty motive reflects the mentality of a street gang competing with rivals, rather than the peaceful ends of an alleged civilized society. 

With statements like this, Secretary of State Blinken transforms himself into someone we might mistake for a

Fox News TV anchor. It would seem that many who pride themselves on eschewing Fox’s lies are ready to swallow whole Mr. Blinken’s bunk. 

Part III—An Israeli Connection?

We know that ex-Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and ex-President Trump were in agreement on Iran policy. In this regard, all the yelling and screaming about Iran’s nuclear program carried on by both men hid their real goal. Particularly for Netanyahu, the hyperbole was aimed at creating a “credible reason” to force regime change in Iran, even if it meant a U.S. invasion. Essentially, the model here was Iraq. Netanyahu was ready to pursue this end till the last dying American soldier. Obviously, the JCPOA was a major obstacle in that path. So was Barack Obama, who thought he was helping Israel and the world in general by negotiating the treaty. 

Now Netanyahu and Trump are gone from office. However, why should we believe that the new Israeli government has changed the ultimate goal? And why should we believe that Joe Biden—who is, as he never fails to remind us, an “ironclad” Zionist—will really follow in Obama’s footsteps?

In June, Israel sent some of its highest-ranking leaders to see Biden. These included Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Defense Minister Benny Gantz. Both meetings were basically about Iran. “Iran will never get a nuclear weapon on my watch,” Biden told Rivlin. This was billed as a “stark warning” to Iran—a country which has, for religious as well as other reasons, disavowed the desire for such a weapon. How many Americans know this? Does President Biden know this?

Many scholars and other experts in Middle East policy believe that “Mr. Biden’s calculations are rooted in a different era of American-Israeli relations—when Israel’s security concerns commanded far more attention than Palestinian grievances.” This is true. But there is a more personal connection. Biden personally identifies with Israel like no other U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson. He collects yarmulkes and is reported to have knelt down in an impromptu “show of respect” after learning that Rivka Ravitz, President Rivlin’s Orthodox chief of staff, was the mother of 12 children. The Israeli Orthodox Jews often have such large families out of fear of a “demographic holocaust”—that is, the consequences of the Palestinians’ much higher birth rate than that of most Israeli Jews. Finally, Biden has completely accepted the highly debatable notion that world Jewry, many of whom are not Zionists, cannot be safe apart from the existence of Israel. 

Those same experts also believe that, when it comes to Israel, President Biden’s approach has much to do with domestic politics. Thus, getting back to the JCPOA is less important than catering to the desires of the Israel Lobby. This only makes sense for a politician born and bred to the power of that lobby.

Part IV—Conclusion


The U.S. and Israeli leaders are suffering from a group-think environment and tunnel vision, all shaped in good part by political pressure generated by dominant special interests.  At least in this instance, one cannot say the same for the Iranians who, though led by a rigid religious elite, broke through their tunnel vision and joined the JCPOA treaty. The present stalemate is the work of American ideologues tied hand and foot to a major U.S. lobby. 

Outside the tunnel one can see the obvious answer to the present stalemate. Having been polite and empathetic toward Rivlin and Gantz, Joe Biden should ask over to the Oval Office an outsider, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. At the end of June Guterres said, “I appeal to the United States to lift or waive its sanctions outlined in the plan.” He also appealed to Iran to return to full implementation of the deal. Right from the beginning of Biden’s election, the Iranians have been willing to follow Guterres’s lead. It is Biden who has temporized while being encouraged by his confidants from Jerusalem. 

Cleric politician calls on Raisi to follow long-term strategic ties with neighbors

24 July 2021 

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Cleric politician calls on Raisi to follow long-term strategic ties with neighbors. A member of the Expediency Council has called on the incoming administration of Ebrahim Raisi to establish long-term strategic ties with neighbors and countries which are not influenced by the United States’ anti-Iran position.

TEHRAN (Iran News) – Cleric politician calls on Raisi to follow long-term strategic ties with neighbors. A member of the Expediency Council has called on the incoming administration of Ebrahim Raisi to establish long-term strategic ties with neighbors and countries which are not influenced by the United States’ anti-Iran position.

Gholamreza Mesbahi Moqaddam also said “the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran is set by the Supreme National Security Council” and the president is chairman of the council and a change in government will not lead to a shift in foreign policy.

“Of Course,” the cleric politician remarked, “approaches are different. Certain approaches are resistant in the face of global arrogance and some are flexible.”

On his prediction of the foreign policy of the Raisi government, he told IRNA,  “My prediction of the approach of the government of Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi is resistance against global arrogance.”

Noting that a “balanced approach” and not a cut of ties with countries is favorable, Mesbahi Moqaddam said such an approach has presented Iran to the world as an independent country which acts based on its interests.

The Expediency Council member also said his prediction is that the United States will not lift all sanctions against Iran even if the 2015 nuclear deal is revived.

The Americans will not lift all sanctions because they consider sanctions as a “pressure tool” to follow their policies against Iran, noted the cleric politician.

Iran and the remaining parties to the nuclear deal, officially called the JCPOA, have been holding sixth round of talks. The last round ended on June 20.

The U.S. is participating in the talks indirectly. Iran has said it will not talk directly to the U.S. until Washington rejoins the agreement and recommit itself to the legally binding agreement.

Iran’s chief negotiator Abbas Araqchi has said the next Iranian government will continue the talks.

“It is clear that the Vienna talks must wait for a new administration in Iran. This is a requirement of any democracy,” Araqchi tweeted on July 17.

He added, “We are in a period of transition and a democratic transfer of power is taking place in Tehran.”

Raisi will be sworn in as president on August 5.

There is still no official word about Raisi’s choice for the post of foreign minister and his foreign policy team.

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فوز إبراهيم رئيسي… قراءة في المشهديْن الداخلي والخارجي

فوز إبراهيم رئيسي... قراءة في المشهديْن الداخلي والخارجي
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 الخميس 24 حزيران 2021

الاخبار

عمرو علان

أتمَّت إيران استحقاقها الانتخابي الرئاسي الثالث عشر في ظل ظروفٍ داخليةٍ معقدةٍ، فالإيرانيون يعانون ظروفاً اقتصادية صعبة بسبب الحصار الخانق والجائر المفروض عليهم منذ أربعة أعوامٍ ونيِّفٍ، فيما سُمي «سياسة الضغوط القصوى» التي بدأها الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب، ناهيكم بظروف وباء «كوفيد-19» وآثارها السلبية على كلٍّ من الاقتصاد والحياة الاجتماعية على حدٍّ سواء.

ومن ناحيةٍ أخرى، فقد كانت حالة الاستقطاب بين المعسكرين «المحافظ» و»الإصلاحي» في هذه الانتخابات على أشدّها، وزادت بعض قرارات «مجلس صيانة الدستور» الطين بلة، إذ رفضت ترشيح شخصيات إيرانية مرموقة على غرار علي لاريجاني من «التيار المحافظ» وأسماءٍ أخرى بارزة من «التيار الإصلاحي»، تلك القرارات التي لم تلقَ شعبيةً واسعةً بين العديد من الناخبين، حتى إن المرشد الأعلى السيد علي الخامنئي أبدى في كلمةٍ علنيةٍ شيئاً من الانتقاد لتلك القرارات، ولا سيما قرار استبعاد علي لاريجاني من السباق الرئاسي رغم عدم تسميته صراحةً.

ويضاف إلى كل هذه الأجواء ما صاحَب الانتخابات من حملاتٍ عدائيةٍ معتادةٍ ترمي إلى تشويه الانتخابات الإيرانية، حملات يشنها معسكر أعداء الشعب الإيراني من القوى الغربية بالتعاون مع أدواتِها الإقليمية، حيث سُخِّرَت – حسب بعض الإحصاءات – قرابة 250 قناة ناطقة باللغة الفارسية للتحريض على مقاطعة الانتخابات على مدى الستة أشهر الماضية، ناهيكم بعديد المواقع الإلكترونية التي واظبت على بث الرسالة ذاتها، وقد تساوقت مع هذه الدعوات بعض الأسماء ذات الحيثية في المشهد السياسي الإيراني مثل الرئيس الإيراني الأسبق محمود أحمدي نجاد، الذي دعا الجمهور صراحةً لمقاطعة الانتخابات الرئاسية.

برغم كل هذه الظروف المعقّدة مجتمعةً، وبرغم مراهنة الخارج على انخفاض نسبة الإقبال الشعبي، حيث راهن الغرب على انخفاض نسبة الإقبال إلى مستويات تُراوح بين 23% فقط و37% في أكثر المراهنات سخاءً. لقد تم إجراء الانتخابات بنجاحٍ، ووصلت نسبة المشاركة الشعبية إلى قرابة الـ 50%، صحيحٌ أن هذه النسبة أقل من المعدل الإجمالي للانتخابات السابقة التي تُقدر بنحو 73%، لكنّ هذه النتيجة تظل جيدةً جداً ضمن الظروف المذكورة، ولقد عدَّتْها الجمهورية الإسلامية بحقٍ انتصاراً ولو كان بشقّ الأنفس، وقال المرشد الأعلى السيد علي الخامنئي فيها: «لقد شكَّلت مشاركة الشعب الإيراني في الانتخابات صفحةً مشرقةً أخرى لأمجاد الشعب الإيراني»، وعَدّ المرشد الأعلى هذا فوزاً «للأمة الإيرانية» التي استطاعت مواجهة «الدعاية الإعلامية للأعداء».

وأما الأمر الأهم في نتيجة هذه الانتخابات – بعيداً عن كل هذا الجدل – فيتمثل في ما يعنيه فوز رئيس السلطة القضائية السيد إبراهيم رئيسي، وفي نسبة توزيع الأصوات بين المتنافسِين نجد أن رئيسي قد حصل على 17،926،345 صوتاً بفارقٍ كبيرٍ عن باقي المرشحِين، تلاه قائد حرس الثورة الإسلامية السابق، اللواء محسن رضائي من معسكر «المحافظين»، الذي حصل على 3،4 ملايين صوت، يليه عبد الناصر همتي من معسكر «الإصلاحيين» الذي حصل على 2،4 مليون صوت، وجاء في نهاية السباق السيد أمير حسين غازي زاده الهاشمي من «المحافظين» الذي حصل على نحو مليون صوت، وبهذا يكون معسكر «المحافظين» بمُرشَّحيه الثلاثة: رئيسي ورضائي والهاشمي قد حصد بالمجمل أصوات السواد الأعظم من الناخبين.

يمكننا الخُلوص من نسبة توزيع الأصوات إلى تأكيد الناخب الإيراني على تمسكه بأسس ومبادئ الثورة الإسلامية وخط الولي الفقيه السيد علي الخامنئي، وكذلك إشاحة غالبية الناخبين الإيرانيين وجوههم عن «الإصلاحيين» بعد تجربة الرئيس المنتهية ولايته الشيخ حسن روحاني، وبحسب مطلعين على الشأن الإيراني، فإن الخط الذي يمثله السيد إبراهيم رئيسي هو خطٌّ جديدٌ يسمى تيار «حزب الله الثوري» في الداخل الإيراني، وهذا التيار يمثل امتداداً لمدرسة المرشد الأعلى السيد علي الخامنئي، الذي يشكِّل «خطاً واصلاً بين إيران الداخل وبين الامتداد العقائدي الخارجي»، ونشير هنا إلى أن النشرة التي تصدر عن «مؤسسة الثورة الإسلامية للثقافة والأبحاث» التابعة للسيد علي الخامنئي تُعنوَن «خط حزب الله». ويطرح هذا تساؤلاً في ما إذا كان وصول إبراهيم رئيسي إلى منصب رئاسة الجمهورية يؤذن بميلاد تيارٍ جديدٍ في المشهد السياسي الإيراني، يكون أكثر راديكاليةً وتمسكاً بثوابت الثورة الإسلامية، ويعتمد على وجوهٍ شابةٍ يمكن أن تجد فيها شريحة الشباب الإيراني نفَساً أكثر ثوريةً وحيويةً من المعسكرين التقليدييْن «المحافظ» و»الإصلاحي»، ولعل هذا ما قصده السيد علي الخامنئي حينما قال: «إن حكومة حزب الله الفَتِيَّة هي العلاج لمشاكل البلاد، أنا كما أكدت من قبل في العام الماضي، وقد ذكرت مراراً وتكراراً من قبل، أنا أؤمن بالحكومة الفَتِيَّة وحزب الله، وآمل في ذلك» في كلمةٍ متلفزةٍ ألقاها في 17 آذار 2021.

هذا في المشهد الإيراني الداخلي، أما في السياسة الخارجية، فكون إبراهيم رئيسي يُعد من صقور الثورة الإسلامية وقريباً من المرشد الأعلى، فيُعتقَد أنه على إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن عدم الرهان على تنازلات في المحدِّدات التي وضعها المرشد الأعلى للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، والتي تنص على وجوب رفع الولايات المتحدة الأميركية كلَّ العقوبات الجائرة التي فرضها الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب على إيران – لا مجرد تعليقها – قبل العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، فعلى الأميركي الاختيار بين القبول بالمحدِّدات الإيرانية المشروعة، أو ستكون إيران حينها في حلٍّ من التزاماتها النووية المنصوص عليها في «خطة العمل الشاملة المشتركة»، ولا سيما في غياب أي مؤشرات على استعداد الولايات المتحدة الأميركية للإقدام على مغامرةٍ عسكريةٍ في منطقة غرب آسيا تجبر بها إيران على الرضوخ عنوةً، وذلك بسبب ميزان القوى الحاكم الراهن، بالإضافة إلى الوضع الدولي والإقليمي المختلف نوعياً عما كان عليه مطلع القرن الحالي.

أما حلفاء إيران في الإقليم، فلا شك أنهم يشعرون بالارتياح لنتائج الانتخابات الإيرانية، كون إبراهيم رئيسي على الراجح سيكون أشد جذريةً في دعم حركات المقاومة في منطقتنا، وذلك بما يتسق مع تاريخه وعقيدتِه السياسية المنسجمة مع فكر المرشد الأعلى للجمهورية الإسلامية، ومع فلسفة حكومة «حزب الله الثورية»، ولا سيما أن انتخاب إبراهيم رئيسي جاء غداة إعادة انتخاب الرئيس السوري بشار الأسد لدورةٍ رئاسيةٍ جديدةٍ.

ولكن طبعاً لا نُغفِل حجم التحديات الداخلية الكبيرة التي تنتظر حكومة إبراهيم رئيسي، سواءً أكانت العمل على تخطي الوضع الاقتصادي الضاغط في الداخل، أم التعامل مع تبعات جائحة «كوفيد-19»، أم تلبية طموحات الشباب الإيراني الذي بات يعاني نسب بطالةٍ مرتفعة.

وفي الخُلاصة، يبدو أن تولي الخط الذي مثَّلَه الرئيس الإيراني السابق الشيخ حسن روحاني لمقاليد الحكم كان في مرحلةٍ تقتضي الكثير من الدبلوماسية، حينما كان يتصدر المشهد التعويل على عقد اتفاقيةٍ نوويةٍ مع الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، أما اليوم فإيران والعالم يعيشان مرحلةً مغايرةً، وذلك على وقع الإخفاقات الأميركية في العَقْد المنصرم في عدة ساحات في منطقتنا والعالم، وما يعانيه الاقتصاد الأميركي من أزماتٍ بفعل العامل المسَرِّع «كوفيد-19»، وهناك الصعود الصيني كَـ «مركز قوة» عالمي جديد ذي اقتصادٍ متنامٍ باطّراد، وتثبيت روسيا لمركزها بصفتها دولةً ندّاً للولايات المتحدة الأميركية على الساحة الدولية، ناهيكم بالآثار الجيوسياسية المترتبة على دخول إيران مع الصين في اتفاقية إطار شراكة استراتيجية للـ25 سنةً القادمة، وهذا الوضع المغاير إقليمياً ودولياً يلزمه وجوهٌ جديدةٌ وسياساتٌ مختلفةٌ، تكون أكثر استعداداً للمواجهة وأقل تطلعاً نحو الغرب، فهل يشكِّل إبراهيم رئيسي حكومة «حزب الله الثورية» من أجل مقارعة القوى الاستعمارية إقليمياً ودولياً؟

يبدو ذلك، ففريق إبراهيم رئيسي من أولئك الذين لا يؤمنون بالتفاوض مع أميركا ولا يجدون فيه أي مصلحةٍ تُرجى، ويُفَضلون توثيق العلاقات مع الدول التي تُشاطِر إيران النزعة الاستقلالية كالصين وروسيا، ويكفي النظر إلى المرشح المنسحب من السباق الرئاسي سعيد محمد الذي يُتوقع أن يَشغَل منصب نائب الرئيس في حكومة إبراهيم رئيسي، والذي يدعو إلى تخصيب اليورانيوم على نسبة نقاء 90% رداً على التعنّت الأميركي، ولا ننسَ أنّ من أهم إستراتيجيات المرشد الأعلى السيد علي الخامنئي التي أعلن عنها هي إخراج أميركا من منطقة غرب آسيا، وتعزيز فكرة الاقتصاد المقاوم، ولا بد أن هذين الأمرين سيشغلان حيزاً رئيسياً في سياسات رئيسي وحكومته حسب ما نعلم من توجهاته.

لعلها إذاً مرحلة مواجهاتٍ مقبلةٍ إقليمياً ودولياً مع قوى الاستكبار العالمي من موقع قوةٍ، وربما كان الكيان الصهيوني أول المستشعرين لهذه المرحلة عندما قال: «انتخاب رئيسي لا يُبقي أمام «إسرائيل» سوى إعداد خططٍ لمهاجمة النووي الإيراني».
* كاتب وباحث سياسي

مقالات سابقة

Iran Says Nuclear Talks Also Involve Pre-2015 US Sanctions

24/06/2021

Iran Says Nuclear Talks Also Involve Pre-2015 US Sanctions

By Staff, Agencies

Iran and the US are haggling over problems with the nuclear deal that predated the Trump administration’s 2018 withdrawal from the accord, a top Iranian government official said, suggesting that negotiations to bring Washington back into the fold have become more complicated than previously known.

Mahmoud Vaezi, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s chief of staff, said the US had agreed in principle to lift all of the more than 1,000 economic sanctions that were re-imposed or added by Donald Trump after he exited the deal, including those on Iran’s oil, petrochemicals, banking and steel sectors.

Broader trade penalties on Iran’s financial sector that weren’t lifted under the 2015 pact with world powers had scared off foreign investors and banks, preventing Tehran from receiving many of the economic benefits that it had expected to flow from its agreement to rein in its nuclear program.

“Right now, we’re discussing which of the remaining sanctions are related to the nuclear deal and which ones relate to before 2015,” Vaezi told reporters in Tehran, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency.

“Also, now it’s possible some of the sanctions related to individuals and matters prior to 2015 will remain, and they are also negotiating over those.”

Previously, Iran had said it was focused on removing the Trump-era sanctions, so Vaezi’s comments may indicate that the scope of the negotiations has widened. Tehran has refused to change the agreement to address US concerns about its ballistic missile program and military activities in the region.

Revival of the deal would allow Iran to return to global oil markets in exchange for curtailing contentious nuclear work, and ease a standoff that has stoked military frictions in the energy-rich Gulf.

Trump’s withdrawal from the deal three years ago created a crisis defined by tit-for-tat attacks on shipping, oil installations and assassinations of key Iranian military and nuclear figures that almost led to another war in the Middle East.

World powers, led by the European Union, have spent the past three months in Vienna trying to bring that chapter of turmoil to an end by brokering a pathway back to the original accord that would see the US return to the deal and also re-establish previous limits on Iran’s atomic work.

On Wednesday, in a reminder of how Iran’s atomic work has often been the target of attacks widely blamed on US ally, the Zionist occupation regime, state news agencies said authorities in Iran had foiled an attempt to “sabotage” a site on the outskirts of Tehran belonging to the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran.

Vaezi said there was an agreement with the US to lift “a number of sanctions on individuals” including people close to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, but he didn’t give details or specify whether they included president-elect Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi.

Biden Admin Complicit in Trump’s Crimes against Humanity – Araqchi

14/06/2021

Biden Admin Complicit in Trump’s Crimes against Humanity - Araqchi

By Staff, Agencies

The US administration of Joe Biden has partaken in ex-president Donald Trump’s crimes against humanity for 144 days, the Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said, criticizing Biden’s administration for continuing Trump’s policies.

“The US has for the past 3 years targeted every single Iranian living anywhere with its brutal & unlawful sanctions”, Araqchi made the remarks in his Twitter account, in reference to the Americans’ moves against the Iranian nation following the unilateral withdrawal of former US administration from Iran’s nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

“The current US admin has partaken in these crimes against humanity for 144 days”, the top Iranian negotiator also said, criticizing Joe Biden’s administration for continuing Trump’s policies.

“Iranians should not have spent a single day under sanctions”, he also stressed.

Since April, representatives from Iran and the P4+1 group of countries have been holding talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and bringing the US back to compliance with the accord.

The US, under Trump, unilaterally left the JCPOA in 2018 and returned the sanctions that had been lifted against Tehran as part of the agreement.

Biden said Washington is willing to return to the pact if Tehran first suspends its countermeasures taken in response to the US violations and reimposition of sanctions.

IRAN WILL LEAVE VIENNA AT THE END OF THE MONTH IF BIDEN DOESN’T LIFT ALL SANCTIONS

By Elijah J. Magnier:

Iranian and Western delegations returned to their capitals after the third Vienna round, with optimism emanating from the statements of the gathered officials. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi issued positive information about the US lifting sanctions on energy, economic sectors, shipping, freedom of transportation, banks, and on many Iranian personalities. The negotiations have reached a stage where the elaboration of complex texts is on the table. Also, there were talks about the US releasing more than 90 billion dollars withheld from Iranian funds and another 20 billion frozen in Iraq, Korea and China from oil revenues. No details have been discussed so far about the interest on these funds held for many years due to US sanctions.

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There was also talk about the possibility of exchanging Iranian prisoners held in America, who number 18, including 7 in critical health condition, and others of Iranian – Western double nationality holders (American and British) detained in Iran on charges of espionage. This is an old Iranian demand that Iran insists on ending everything in one single exchange.

However, after lifting sanctions against individuals and accepting all demands, the biggest problem lies in Iran’s request to ensure that the lifting of sanctions will be applied in a specific time frame. According to a particular pre-agreed timetable, Iran wants to ensure that all frozen funds will return to the Central Bank. Countries around the world will be allowed to deal with Iran in all sectors without intimidation.

Iran has never requested the return of diplomatic relations with the US, but rather the lifting of the sanctions imposed on it since 2015 and that President Barack Obama agreed to cancel. Moreover, Iran wants to lift all additional sanctions added by Donald Trump when the nuclear deal was torn apart in 2018.

Negotiations have reached a reasonable level, although Iran still refuses to communicate with the US directly because the US is no longer a partner in the JCPOA and that talks could blow up any time. The US flag was removed from the negotiating room at the request of Iran. The Iranian delegation stressed the need for the US delegate not to be present at the same hotel where the negotiations are taking place until the White House announces the end of all sanctions. This is when the US will become a JCPOA partner again.

An Iranian decision-maker in Iran said that “the Leader of the revolution, Sayyed Ali Khamenei, will not give an unlimited time-space to negotiate in Vienna. This is the last month before the announcement of the clinical death of the JCPOA agreement if all Iranian conditions are not met.” The source asserts that “Iran will not accept the American evasiveness that called for easing the sanctions by lifting those related to the nuclear file and placing other sanctions related to Iran’s missile capability, the Revolutionary Guards and others sectors until a future negotiation to be established later. Either all sanctions are lifted, or no deal is reached because mid-solutions are not accepted.”

Iran-China deal hailed as geopolitical game changer

By VT Editors -April 8, 2021

Carl Zha is an American-Chinese social media activist with an extensive knowledge of Chinese foreign policies. He tells Press TV about the importance of the Iran-China economic pact and its possible ramifications for the region and beyond.

This article is based on an episode of Presscast, a podcast by Press TV

Carl Zha is an American-Chinese social media activist with an extensive knowledge of Chinese foreign policies. He tells Press TV about the importance of the Iran-China economic pact and its possible ramifications for the region and beyond.

This article is based on an episode of Presscast, a podcast by Press TV

Very little has been published on the Iran-China agreement and its possible outcome for the region since it was announced last year.

How important is this deal?

So, we know approximate figure, 400, billion (dollar value of agreement), it’s a pretty big number, and it’s touted as a strategic partnership between China and Iran, where both sides committed to broaden the economic cooperation that both sides already have but increasing investment, increasing cooperation in developing infrastructures. So I think it’s a really big deal because we have all the usual outlets in the mainstream media talking about it or the conservative media in the US are, are taking the stance, oh, you know, like the “Biden’s screwed up. He made Iran and China get together, now they have formed the axis of evil, now we are screwed!” You know it’s a good thing when these people are starting to talk like that.

What are the western media criticisms of the deal?

Um, actually I hear a lot of, you know, I saw a lot of criticism for like the, the Iranian dissidents in the diaspora, I mean a lot of them are posing this as somehow Iran selling out to China. You know I see like an astroturf Twitter campaign about you, Iran, get out of “China, get out of Iran”, right, which is totally overblown because as far as I know, you know China is not is not, you know, posting its military to Iran and China. China is in Iran to do business. Right and it’s a deal, agreed by two sovereign governments between the sovereign government of Iran and China. It’s not like one side is pointing a gun to the other side, say hey, sign at the dotted line, and as a matter of fact, it has nothing to do with the United States.

Iran and China have long standing ties through the Silk Road

The fact that people in the US media are getting worked up about it is rather ridiculous, (since) this is a deal between two nations with long standing ties through the Silk Road, I mean Iran and China have had a historical relationship for over 1000 years, you know, way longer than United States even existed. The fact that the people in Washington, who can barely find Iran and China on a map, are worked up about a deal of cooperation, mind you have a deal of cooperation and friendship between Iran and China. It says a lot more about them than about the deal itself it’s, it’s this fear that oh my god you know all these people are ganging up on us. It’s like no, this has nothing to do with the US.

US foreign policy hostile toward both nations

Iran and China are just continuing their historical relationship. There’s every reason for the two nations to work together, especially when both are being put under pressure by US foreign policy, you know, US foreign policy has been very hostile toward Iran since 1979. US foreign policy has been increasingly hostile toward China since 2010. So I mean, when, when US policymakers realize, China now is in a position strong enough to challenge the US hegemony, and that’s what they’re really worried about they’re worried about the position of the US as a hegemon [sic] in the world; they are worried that US hegemony is going to disappear and be replaced by a multipolar, multilateral world, which, I don’t understand why that’s a bad day, for them it is.

Ever since the United States pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018, and reapplied sanctions China remained the sole buyer of Iranian petroleum, the sole lifeline that Iran could rely on at the time was coming from China and what they’re doing now is just a continuation of their previous businesses dealings which has now been made official.

China and Iran Cooperation goes a long way. I mean not just, just, historically, but also in the modern time, you know China has always dealt with Iran and in the latest round of sanctions  the US placed on Iran, China continue to do business (with Iran) despite the US sanctions because, you know, the, the US sanctions rely on the premise that the US has dominate the global finance right and because US threatened to sanction, any company, any government that has dealing with Iran, but China is in a position today where you can basically ignore the US sanction and continue to, to work on its traditional relationship, normal relationship, with Iran. And I think that is what has upset people in Washington, because they see the US is losing its grip.

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

This deal comes in the backdrop of the broader Belt and Road initiative, if I’m not mistaken, please give us more information if you available. This corridor that China has been trying to build through Pakistan and now it connects Iran to this road and maybe later Turkey can, you know, get added to this, how do you view this?

Yeah, I mean, actually the Belt and Road Initiative serves two purposes. The first, the most important purpose is to build up infrastructures throughout the world, throughout especially the global south. So, people there can be increased interconnectivity in the world, that that, you know, people make it seems like, oh, China is building a port So China’s increasing its inputs, but look, a port is is open, a port sits on the ocean, It’s open to anyone. You know Chinese can use the Japanese can use, anybody who wants to do business in Iran can use that board. So that’s a point that’s increasingly global interconnectivity includes the increase of global trade, which for some weird reason the US is trying to oppose. I mean, they, they’re the real reason is really about preserving the USA, Germany, but they, they’re really bending backwards to perform all kinds of mental gymnastics to justify why that’s, that’s a bad thing. And I think he shows how desperate they are. But, as you mentioned the Belt and Road Initiative, there’s another purpose of building a road initiative, it is to bypass the US Navy’s chokehold on the, the world, shipping, trade, because, you know, US Navy, makes no, they do not even disguise the fact that they, they, they always talk about the chokehold on the Malacca Strait, which is where most of the Middle East oil flows to East Asia like two countries like China, Japan and Korea, and, and what China is doing is kind of diversify its energies, by, by building pipelines and building roads and rails through, you know through Central Asia through Pakistan to Iran so they, the oil or gas doesn’t have to go, get on tankers and goes through the Strait of Malacca to China, they can maybe go overland and then the trade can also be carried on overland, not having to route to avoid a possible US Navy blockade, you know like what they’re currently doing right now, sending warships to the Persian Gulf, sending worships to the South China Sea, that’s basically the US demonstrating “look I can, I can, you know choke off your lifeline, anytime”, and the Belt and Road Initiative bypasses that by building alternative routes.

Peking is increasing its influence with Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka which may give India cause for consternation.

https://if-cdn.com/ubIRQ9A?v=1&app=1

Do you think that Delhi may feel left out as the route is not to go through India but through Pakistan or maybe Sri Lanka?

Yeah, I mean, India, feels like the South Asian subcontinent is its own backyard, you know, it feels like you know it feels pressure when China builds a relationship with its neighbors like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal.  But China actually very much want to include India in the Belt and Road Initiative, because India is a huge nation with 1.3 billion people, it’s a large market, and China very much want India to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative, by having deepened economic engagement with India. But the problem with India is that if you wants to keep China at arm’s length, because they see this rather than as an opportunity of cooperation and engagement, they see this as some kind of, you know Chinese influence encroaching on other nations. India is also  participating in the so called plod the, you know the cloud of democracy that’s promoted by the United States that’s the US, Japan, Australia, India to form this circle of containment around China, and that will just increase the kind of the friction between, between India and China, but like I said, you know, like, I think Chinese government will be very happy if India just suddenly says we’re going to be on board with the Belt and Road Initiative, you know we love to trade with China, but that’s not happening right now, India has recently banned all the Chinese apps in their market. So, so they’re, they’re following the kind of the US led initiative to decouple from the Chinese economy, and also India had, you know that Iran and India, they had a deal concerning the port of Chabahar. So, so, like India did have this opportunity to, you know, engage with Iran, engage with China, it’s really up to India to decide what they really want.

I think they had payment issues due to US sanctions and that stopped them from developing further. Iran certainly needed this agreement, for certain reasons that you might be aware of. But do you think that China also needed this agreement to happen?

Oh sure, I mean, you know, the whole point of the Belt and Road initiative is, you know, China was to engage more deeply with the global south countries and Iran is a very important strategic country in the Middle East. It sits right by the Persian Gulf, but you know, it sits right across Hormuz Strait, a very strategic point. And so, you know China very much would like to deepen its engagement with Iran, especially right now, when both China and Iran face heavy diplomatic pressure from the United States it makes even more sense for the two sides to to cooperate and, you know, China also wanted, like, kind of, you know, make more inroads into the broader Middle East market because you know, traditionally China imports its energy from the Middle East, including Iran. But right now, you know, China has, has built up a lot of capacity in the past decades, just building out its own domestic infrastructure. And now, China has acquired all this expertise, and all these capacity but China is is being built out in China are people seeing videos of Chinese high speed rails and bridges. Now, all these Chinese companies they have all these expertise and all this capacity. The whole point of the Belt and Road initiative is to invest abroad, you know, to continue to provide opportunities for these Chinese companies to do business abroad, and to export the excessive Chinese capacity, and Iran is a very important country in the Middle East; traditionally Iran is like the centrepiece of the Middle East. It sits right, square, in the middle of the Silk Road and culturally, politically, economically Iran has always been important. So, so for this (reason), I think it’s a major win for China as well.

How do you think this deal can change the geopolitical alignment in the region, what do you think things will change in the region in the next five years?

Yeah, I think, like you said there has always been a relationship between Iran and China. This just makes it more official, you know, traditionally, China has always traded with Iran buying energy, selling everything including weapons. So, but, but it’s more of an ad hoc basis, because there’s almost never like any kind of formal alliance between the two nations, despite both facing the Western pressures, but not now. I think they, this is like the official blessing of the relationship like, let’s, let’s get together, I think it provides a more supportive network, a framework for them to be engaged in a more productive, cooperation.

Now, maybe this deal can give Iran, another bargaining chip by telling the United States okay you’re not going to buy our oil anymore. No problem. We sold it to China. Do you think this is going to help Iran in it negotiations?

Oh yeah, definitely no doubt I mean what China did in a lot of places was to provide an alternative to the World Bank, in that to all these US dominated international institutions, and, now Iran can play that China card like luck. You know it’s not; we’re not coming to you because you are our only option, you know, you can give us a better deal, or we can walk away.  You are totally right that you give yourself a stronger negotiation position at the table.

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«اتفاقيّة التعاون الاستراتيجيّ الصينيّ الإيرانيّ» ثورة في العلاقات الدوليّة…The Sino-Iranian Strategic Cooperation Agreement” A revolution in international relations


**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

اتفاقيّة التعاون الاستراتيجيّ الصينيّ الإيرانيّ» ثورة في العلاقات الدوليّة

العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط*

أفضت الحرب العالمية الثانية إلى قيام عصبة الدول المنتصرة في الحرب التي تولّت قيادة العالم وتحكّمت بمساراته وقضاياه صغيرها وكبيرها، ورغم قيام النظام العالمي يومها على الثنائية القطبية بين حلفين أطلسي تتزعّمه أميركا وشيوعي يقوده الاتحاد السوفياتي، فقد كانت الأرجحيّة واضحة لصالح الحلف الأول على حساب الحلف الثاني الذي كان الاقتصاد موطن الوهن والضعف الرئيسيّ فيه بعكس الحلف الأول المتمتع بخيرات ذاتية ومغتصبة بحجم أضعاف ما يحتاج، أما الصين خاصة بعد نجاح ثورتها في العام 1949 في بناء الدولة التي يقودها الحزب الشيوعي فقد كانت محاصَرة إلى حدّ التضييق والتهميش في كثير من النواحي. أما إيران قبل ثورتها الإسلامية ونجاحها في العام 1979 في بناء دولة السيادة والاستقلال، فقد كانت شرطي الخليج لصالح الحلف الأول في مواجهة أيّ تحرك إقليمي أو دولي يهدّد مصالحه.

انطلاقاً من هذا الواقع عملت كلّ من الصين وإيران وفقاً لاستراتيجية تناسبها للنمو، وكان الاقتصاد لدى الطرفين بؤرة الاهتمام الرئيسيّ مع اهتمام بالشأن العسكري متفاوت السقوف بين الدولتين للدفاع عن النفس وحماية المرافق الاقتصادية. أما ردّة فعل نادي المنتصرين في الحرب الثانية فقد اختلفت حيال كلّ من الدولتين في سقوفها، لكنها تماثلت في طبيعتها القائمة على رفض تشكل قوة إقليمية أو دولية جديدة تنازع الغرب مواقعه ومصالحه من أي نوع كانت سياسية أو اقتصادية أو عسكرية أو سيطرة ونفوذ. وكان العنف الشديد يمارَس بوجه إيران التي شنّت عليها الحروب ثم الحصار الخانق، وكانت المشاغلة والمراوغة في العلاقات مع الصين بحيث لا تصل إلى العداء المكشوف المستتبع لشن الحرب، ولا تدخل في مجال الصداقة والحميميّة المطمئنة بأيّ حال.

لقد شكلت كل من الصين وإيران هاجساً مقلقاً للغرب، الأولى على صعيد دوليّ حيث إنّ تقدّمها الاقتصادي الذي حققته نتيجة التركيز على الاستثمار بدل الانشغال بالحروب والنزاعات وهدر المال من دون طائل، والثانية على صعيد إقليميّ فسّره الغرب بأنه تهديد لمواقعه في الشرق الأوسط الذي به وبما هو عليه من موقع وثروة وتنوّع يمكنه أن يديم سيطرته على العالم، ولذلك كانت أولوية المواجهة للترويض أو القمع، مركزة على إيران التي رأى فيها الغرب العدو الذي لا يمكن تأخير معالجة خطره ، وأن تطويعه واحتواءه يخفضان من مستوى الجهد المبذول باتجاه الصين إلى النصف إنْ لم يكن أكثر.

بيد أنّ الغرب استفاد من تجربة حرب صدام الفاشلة ضدّ إيران وهي الحرب التي شُنّت بقرار أميركي ومال عربي وخيضت بسلاح متعدّد المصادر من الشرق والغرب، وامتنع عن تكرار التجربة بعد أن لمس أنّ عود إيران تصلّب وأنّ خبراتها في حرب الجيلين الثالث والرابع تعاظمت، لذا وما أن تفكك الاتحاد السوفياتي حتى سارع الغرب إلى تطويق إيران من دون غزوها فنفذ الانتشار العسكري في الخليج مقابل السواحل الإيرانية الجنوبية الغربية، ثم احتل أفغانستان ليقفل حدود إيران الشمالية الشرقية وأخيراً احتلّ العراق ليحكم تطويق إيران من الغرب، وظنت أميركا أنّ هذا التطويق والعزل سيسقط الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران، لكن خاب ظنها.

ذهلت أميركا وكل مَن معها لفشل سياسة التطويق والحصار والاحتواء الممارسة ضد إيران، وشغلهم هذا عن متابعة ما يجري في الصين التي أطلقت «استراتيجية الانفتاح والإصلاح» وحققت بها ثورة نهضوية على أكثر من صعيد خاصة في السياسة والاقتصاد والإدارة والبناء العسكري، وظن الغرب بقيادة أميركا أن الوقت حان للعمل المتزامن ضد الطرفين، الصين وإيران عبر الانزياح إلى الشرق الأقصى عسكرياً للبدء بحصار الصين وتطويقها، أما إيران فتواجه عبر إسقاط محور المقاومة الذي نجحت في تشكيله، ونجح هو في قطف ثمار هامة في التحرير والمواجهة. وترجم الغرب اتجاهاته هذه في المفهوم الاستراتيجي الذي اعتمده للحلف الأطلسي في العام 2010 ليعمل به خلال عقد من الزمن ظن الحلف أنّ بإمكانه من خلاله إسقاط سورية، وتالياً إيران وحزب الله ومحاصرة المقاومة الفلسطينية وامتلاك قرار الشرق الأوسط والتفرّغ للصين في الشرق الأقصى.

بيد أنّ محصول البيدر الغربي لم يطابق حساب الحقل المشرقيّ، فمن جهة فشلت الحرب الكونية على سورية وصمدت إيران في مواقعها وأحرزت عبر حلفائها من سورية والعراق ولبنان وصولاً إلى اليمن انتصارات استراتيجية مذهلة، ما منع أميركا وحلفاءها من تحقيق أهداف حرب العقد – الكونيّة في الشرق الأوسط، ومن جهة ثانية استغلت الصين انشغال أميركا بالحروب منذ 1991 وعرفت كيف تتعامل مع الفشل الأطلسي وكان تركيزها على الاقتصاد والإنتاج وتطويره في الداخل وإيجاد الأسواق للصناعة والاستثمارات الصينية في الخارج.

وبعد أن كانت الصين قد بدأت بشن «هجوم اقتصادي استثماري» على الشرق الأوسط وعقدت الاتفاقات الهامة مع العراق و»إسرائيل» وآخرين ما أغضب أميركا وجعلها تضغط لتعطيلها، صنعت الصين مع إيران «القنبلة الاقتصادية السياسية العسكرية الاستراتيجية الكبرى» تحت اسم «اتفاقية التعاون الاستراتيجي الصيني الإيراني» فأحدثت ثورة في العلاقات الدولية وشكلت «كارثة استراتيجيّة على المشروع الغربي في المنطقة»، وجعلت بايدن يبدي بألم «قلقه العميق ومخاوفه الكبيرة» منها.

 لقد وقّعت الصين وإيران في 27/3/2021 هذا الاتفاق الاستراتيجي من دون اكتراث بالعقوبات الأميركية – الغربية اتفاقاً سيُعمل به خلال الـ 25 سنة المقبلة ويتضمّن «التعاون في المجالات السياسية والاقتصادية والتقنية، إلى جانب التعاون الدفاعي والعسكري، بما في ذلك إجراء مناورات عسكرية مشتركة»، فضلاً عن الاستثمار والمساهمة في بناء وتطوير البنى التحتيّة في إيران وخطوط المواصلات والنقل من مطارات ومرافئ وسكك حديد، ولذلك ننظر إلى هذا الاتفاق بأنه بحق ثورة في العلاقات الدولية من شأنها أن تفرض إيقاعها على الكثير مما تعمل به أميركا ضدّ أعدائها وتعوّل عليه لاستمرار سيطرتها وهيمنتها الدوليّة. ففي هذا الاتفاق من النتائج والدلالات ما لا يمكن حصره الآن، لكن نذكر بعضه كما يلي:

1

ـ أكد التقاء العملاقين الصيني والإيراني في هذه الصيغة فشل أميركا في خطط الحصار والعقوبات وإخفاق الحرب الاقتصادية عليهما. وبهذا كسر ذراع الضغط الثالث الذي كانت أميركا تعوّل عليه في الضغط على خصومها، إذ بعد فشل الذراع السياسية وفشل استراتيجية الحروب بالقوة الصلبة أو الناعمة ها هي سياسة الحرب الاقتصادية والعقوبات تلفظ أنفاسها على أبواب إيران والصين، وبهذا تثبت نتيجة المواجهة أنّ أميركا ليست قدراً لا يُردّ بل إنها مكوّن فيه من الوهن ولدى خصومها من القوة ما يجعلها تخسر ويُلوى ذراعها.

2

ـ خروج الصين من خلف السور العظيم واقتحام المنطقة المركزية في العالم من الوجهة الاستراتيجية ودخولها بقوة وثبات إلى غربي آسيا، حيث مصادر الطاقة والبحار الخمسة ما يعني أنّ حلم أميركا باحتكار السيطرة على الشرق الأوسط بات من الماضي الغابر.

3

ـ تعزيز فرص إحياء طريق الحرير التي تربط الصين بالغرب الأوروبي عبر آسيا الوسطى وبشكل خاص إيران، مشهد ستكون إيران فيه منطقة الوسط والتفريع وستعطيه دفعاً وزخماً هاماً. وسيلقى التسونامي الصيني الاقتصادي أبواباً تشرع له في الغرب رغم كلّ محاولات الحجب والمنع.

4

ـ تعزيز فرص نجاح مشروع «الحزام والطريق» الصيني الذي استماتت أميركا لمنعه وإسقاطه. وسيكون أكثر من سوق وميدان عالمي في القارات الثلاث قارات العالم القديم متهيئاً للاستثمارات الصينية.

5

ـ زعزعة موقع الدولار الذي لن يبقى متسيّداً على عرش الاقتصاد العالمي باعتباره العملة الكونيّة الوحيدة التي تتحكم أميركا باقتصاد العالم عبرها، حيث إنّ التحوّل إلى عملات أخرى محلية وإقليمية سيهزّ عرش الدولار من دون منقذ.

6

ـ لن يكون للعقوبات الأميركية أثر قاتل ومعطل لاقتصاد إيران والصين، فبترول إيران سيجد مَن يستهلكه والاستثمارات في إيران ستجد من يقوم بها وستبقى أميركا تراقب الأوراق تفلت من يدها.

7

ـ أما عسكرياً فإنّ شمول الاتفاق جوانب متصلة بالتسليح والتدريب والمناورات ففيه إشارة هامة إلى بناء نواة تحالف دفاعي ورسالة هامة بأنّ للاتفاقية ما يكفي من القوة العسكرية لحمايتها وحماية مَن ينظمّ إلى صيغ مثيلة لها مستقبلاً.

نكتفي الآن بهذا القدر من الإضاءة على هذا الاتفاق التاريخي الهام في أبعاده الاستراتيجية والسياسية والاقتصادية والعسكرية، ونقول إنّ فشل الحرب الكونية على سورية ومحور المقاومة وصمود هذا المحور غيّر العالم وفتح الطريق لإنهاء عهد سيطرة نادي المنتصرين في الحرب الثانية واستطاعت الدول التي تشكلت أنظمتها بعد الحرب تلك أن تتفلّت من الهيمنة الاستعماريّة وتهيّئ الفرص لنظام عالميّ مختلف يقوم على التوازن المبنيّ على الاستقلال والسيادة.

*أستاذ جامعي – خبير استراتيجي.


فيديوات ذات صلة


The Sino-Iranian Strategic Cooperation Agreement” A revolution in international relations

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Brigadier General Dr. Amin Mohammed Hatit*

World War II led to the establishment of the League of Victorious Nations in the war that took over the leadership of the world and controlled its paths and issues, small and large, and despite the fact that the world order was based on the bipolarity between two NATO allies led by America and a communist led by the Soviet Union, the clear economic superiority was in favor of the first alliance that enjoyed self-benefits and usurped at the expense of the second alliance that it needs, as for China, especially after the success of its Communist revolution in 1949, it was besieged to the point of restriction and marginalization in many respects. As for Iran, before its Islamic revolution and its success in the year 1979 in building a state of sovereignty and independence, it was the policeman of the Gulf in favor of the first alliance in the face of any regional or international move threatening its interests.

The reaction of the Victors Club in the Second War differed from both states in its ceilings, but it was similar in nature based on the rejection of the formation of a new regional or international power that the West disputes its positions and interests of any kind, political, economic, military, control and influence. There was extreme violence in the face of war-ravaged Iran and then the suffocating siege, and the confusion and prevarication in relations with China were so that it did not reach the open hostility that entailed the waging war and did not enter into the sphere of friendship and comforting intimacy in anyway.

Based on this reality, China and Iran have worked for a growth-friendly strategy, mainly focusing on economy , with an interest in military affairs, with varying ceilings between the two countries for self-defense and protection of economic facilities. As for the reaction of the victors’ club in the second war, it differed vis-à-vis each country in its ceilings, but it was similar in nature based on the rejection of the formation of a new regional or international power that competes with the West and its interests, political, economic, military, or control and influence. Therefore, the priority was focusing on confrontation taming or suppressing Iran, whose danger could not be delayed, and whose compliance would be cut the half if not more than the level of effort required towards China.

However, the West benefited from the experience of Saddam’s failed war against Iran, which was waged by an American decision and Arab money and was fought with a multi-source weapon from the East and the West. The West refrained from repeating the experience after noticing that Iran’s power had hardened and that its experiences in the third and fourth generation war increased, so as soon as the Soviet Union disintegrated, the West rushed to encircle Iran without invading it and carried out the military deployment in the Gulf off the southwestern Iranian coast, then it occupied Afghanistan to close Iran’s northeastern borders and finally it occupied Iraq to close the encirclement of Iran from the West, and America thought that this encirclement and isolation would bring down the Islamic Republic in Iran, but was disappointed.

America and its allies were stunned by the failure of the policy of encirclement, siege and containment practiced against Iran, which distracted them from China’s renaissance revolution, investigated on more than one level, especially in politics, economics, administration and military construction, and the West led by America thought that it was time to act simultaneously against the parties, China and Iran by shifting to the Far East militarily to start the siege and encirclement of China. As for Iran, it facing through the axis of resistance, which it succeeded in forming, the axis succeeded in reaping important fruits in liberation and confrontation. The West translated these trends into the strategic concept that it adopted for NATO in the year 2010 to work with it within a decade, which the alliance thought that through it it could overthrow Syria, and next to Iran and Hezbollah, besieging the Palestinian resistance and owning the Middle East decision and devoting itself to China in the Far East.

However, the western threshing crop did not match the expense of the Levantine field, on the one hand the global war on Syria failed and Iran persisted in its positions and achieved through its allies from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon to Yemen amazing strategic victories, which prevented America and its allies from achieving the goals of the decade-global war in the Middle East. On the other hand, China took advantage of America’s preoccupation with wars since 1991 and knew how to deal with the Atlantic failure. Its focus was on the economy, production and its development at home and creating markets for Chinese industry and investments abroad.

And after China had launched an “economic and investment attack” on the Middle East and concluded the important agreements with Iraq, “Israel” and others, which angered America and made pressure to disrupt it, China created with Iran the “major economic, political, military, and strategic bomb” under the name of the “Strategic Cooperation Agreement” causing a revolution in international relations and constituting a “strategic catastrophe for the Western project in the region”, that made Biden express painfully his “deep concern and great fear” of it.

On March 27, 2021, China and Iran signed this strategic agreement without regard to U.S.-Western sanctions, which will be in place for the next 25 years, including “political, economic and technical cooperation, as well as defense and military cooperation, including joint military exercises.” Investing and contributing to the construction and development of Iran’s infrastructure and transportation lines from airports, ports and railways, so we see this agreement as truly a revolution in international relations that would impose its rhythm on much of what America is doing against its enemies and counting on it to maintain its control and international dominance. In this agreement of results and implications, there is no limit now, but some of it is as follows:

1-The meeting of the Chinese and Iranian giants in this formula affirmed America’s failure in the siege and sanctions plans and the failure of the economic war against them. And with this breaking the third pressure arm that America was relying on to pressure its opponents, as after its political failure and the failure of the strategy of wars with hard or soft power, here is the policy of economic war and sanctions breathed at the gates of Iran and China, thus proving the outcome of the confrontation that America is not a measure of weakness and its opponents have the power to lose and twist its arm.

2-China’s exit from behind the Great Wall and the storming of the central region of the world from a strategic point of view and its strong and steady entry into Western Asia, where the sources of energy and the five seas, which means that America’s dream of monopolizing control of the Middle East is a past.

3-Enhancing the chances of reviving the Silk Road that connects China with the European West through Central Asia, especially Iran, a scene in which Iran will be a central and branching area and will give it significant momentum and impetus. The Chinese economic tsunami will open doors for it in the West, despite all attempts to block and prevent.

4-Enhance the chances of success of china’s Belt and Road project, which America has called for to prevent and bring down. More than one global market and field on three continents will be the old world, preparing for Chinese investment.

5-To destabilize the position of the dollar, which will not remain on the throne of the world economy as the only global currency through which America controls the world economy, as the transition to other domestic and regional currencies will shake the throne of the dollar without a savior.

6-U.S. sanctions will not have a fatal and disruptive effect on iran’s economy and China, Iran’s oil will find those who consume it and investments in Iran will find who is doing it and America will keep watching the cards get out of hand.

7-On the military side, the inclusion of the agreement has aspects related to armaments, training and exercises, which are an important reference to the building of the nucleus of a defence alliance and an important message that the Agreement has sufficient military force to protect it and to protect those who organize to similar formulas in the future.

We say that the failure of the global war on Syria and the axis of resistance and the resilience of this axis is not enough to end the era of the domination of the victors club in the second war, and the countries that formed their systems after the war were able to escape colonial domination and create opportunities for a different world order based on balance based on independence and sovereignty.

*University professor – strategic expert.

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Iran-China: the 21st century Silk Road connection

Newly announced China-Iran strategic partnership deal shatters US sanctions while paving the Belt and Road from East to West

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (R) and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi sign a historic partnership agreement between the two sides in Tehran on March 27, 2021. (Photo by Tasnim)
Iran-China: the 21st century Silk Road connection

March 29, 2021

By Pepe Escobar posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

The timing could not have been more spectacular, following what we examined in three previous columns: the virtual Quad and the 2+2 US-China summit in Alaska; the Lavrov-Wang Yi strategic partnership meeting in Guilin; and the NATO summit of Foreign Ministers in Brussels – key steps unveiling the birth of a new paradigm in international relations.

The officially named Sino-Iranian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was first announced over five years ago, when President Xi Jinping visited Tehran. The result of plenty of closed-door discussions since 2016, Tehran now describes the agreement as “a complete roadmap with strategic political and economic clauses covering trade, economic and transportation cooperation.”

Once again, this is “win-win” in action: Iran, in close partnership with Chibrlna, shatters the glass of US sanctions and turbo-charges domestic investment in infrastructure, while China secures long-term, key energy imports that it treats as a matter of national security.

If a loser would have to be identified in the process, it’s certainly the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” drive against all things Iran.

As Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran described it to me, “It’s basically a road map. It’s especially important coming at a time when US hostility towards China altogether is increasing. The fact that this trip to Iran [by Foreign Minister Wang Yi] and the signing of the agreement took place literally days after the events in Alaska makes it even more significant, symbolically speaking.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh confirmed the deal was indeed a “roadmap” for trade, economic and transportation cooperation, with a “special focus on the private sectors of the two sides.”

Marandi also notes how this is a “comprehensive understanding of what can happen between Iran and China – Iran being rich in oil and gas and the only energy-producing country that can say ‘No’ to the Americans and can take an independent stance on its partnerships with others, especially China.”

China is Iran’s largest oil importer. And crucially, bill settlements bypass the US dollar.

Marandi hits the heart of the matter when he confirms how the strategic deal actually secures, for good, Iran’s very important role in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI):

The Chinese are getting more wary about sea trade. Even the incident in the Suez Canal reinforces that, it increases Iran’s importance to China. Iran would like to use the same Belt and Road network the Chinese want to develop. For Iran, China’s economic progress is quite important, especially in high-tech fields and AI, which is something the Iranians are pursuing as well and leading the region, by far. When it comes to data technology, Iran is third in the world. This is a very appropriate time for West Asia and East Asia to move closer to one another – and since the Iranians have great influence among its allies in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Hindu Kush, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, Iran is the ideal partner for China.

In a nutshell, from Beijing’s point of view, the astonishing Evergreen saga in the Suez Canal now more than ever reiterates the crucial importance of the overland, trade/connectivity BRI corridors across Eurasia.

JCPOA? What JCPOA?

It’s fascinating to watch how Wang Yi, as he met Ali Larijani, special adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, framed it all in a single sentence:

“Iran decides independently on its relations with other countries and is not like some countries that change their position with one phone call.”

It’s never enough to stress the sealing of the partnership was the culmination of a five-year-long process, including frequent diplomatic and presidential trips, which started even before the Trump “maximum pressure” interregnum.

Wang Yi, who has a very close relationship with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, once again stressed, “relations between the two countries have now reached the level of strategic partnership” and “will not be affected by the current situation, but will be permanent”.

Zarif for his part stressed that Washington should get serious about its return to the Iran nuclear deal; lift all unilateral sanctions; and be back to the JCPOA as it was clinched in Vienna in 2015. In realpolitik terms, Zarif knows that’s not going to happen – considering the prevailing mood in the Beltway. So he was left to praise China as a “reliable partner” on the dossier – as much as Russia.

Beijing is articulating a quite subtle charm offensive in Southwest Asia. Before going to Tehran, Wang Yi went to Saudi Arabia and met with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The official spin is that China, as a “pragmatic partner”, supports Riyadh’s steps to diversify its economy and “find a path of development that fits its own conditions”.

What Wang Yi meant is that something called the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee should be working overtime. Yet there have been no leaks on the absolutely crucial issue: the role of oil in the Beijing-Riyadh relationship, and the fateful day when China will decide to buy Saudi oil priced exclusively in yuan.

On the (Silk) road again

It’s absolutely essential to place the importance of the Iran-China deal in a historical context.

The deal goes a long way to renew the spirit of Eurasia as a geo-historic entity, or as crack French geopolitician Christian Grataloup frames it, “a system of inter-relations from one Eurasian end to another” taking place across the hard node of world history.

Via the BRI concept, China is reconnecting with the vast intermediary region between Asia and Europe through which relations between continents were woven by more or less durable empires with diverse Eurasian dimensions: the Persians, the Greco-Romans, and the Arabs.

Persians, crucially, were the first to develop a creative role in Eurasia.

Northern Iranians, during the first millennium B.C., experts on horseback nomadism, were the prime power in the steppe core of Central Eurasia.

Historically, it’s well established that the Scythians constituted the first pastoral nomadic nation. They took over the Western steppe – as a major power – while other steppe Iranians moved East as far away as China. Scythians were not only fabulous warriors – as the myth goes, but most of all very savvy traders connecting Greece, Persia and the east of Asia: something described, among others, by Herodotus.

So an ultra-dynamic, overland international trade network across Central Eurasia developed as a direct consequence of the drive, among others, by Scythians, Sogdians and the Hsiung-Nu (who were always harassing the Chinese in their northern frontier). Different powers across Central Eurasia, in different epochs, always traded with everyone on their borders – wherever they were, from Europe to East Asia.

Essentially Iranian domination of Central Eurasia may have started as early as 1,600 B.C. – when Indo-Europeans showed up in upper Mesopotamia and the Aegean Sea in Greece while others journeyed as far as India and China.

It’s fully established, among others by an unimpeachable scholarly source, Nicola di Cosmo, in his Ancient China and Its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History (Cambridge University Press): pastoral nomadic lifestyle on horseback was developed by Iranians of the steppe early in the first millennium B.C.

Jump cut to the end of the first century B.C., when Rome was starting to collect its precious silk from East Asia via multiple intermediaries, in what is described by historians as the first Silk Road.

A fascinating story features a Macedonian, Maes Titianos, who lived in Antioch in Roman Syria, and organized a caravan for his agents to reach beyond Central Asia, all the way to Seres (China) and its imperial capital Chang’an. The trip lasted over a year and was the precursor to Marco Polo’s travels in the 13th century. Marco Polo actually followed roads and tracks that were very well known for centuries, plied by numerous caravans of Eurasian merchants.

Up to the caravan organized by Titianos, Bactria – in today’s Afghanistan– was the limes of the known world for imperial Rome, and the revolving door, in connectivity terms, between China, India and Persia under the Parthians.

And to illustrate the “people to people contacts” very dear to the concept of 21st century BRI, after the 3rd century Manicheism – persecuted by the Roman empire – fully developed in Persia along the Silk Road thanks to Sogdian merchants. From the 8th to the 9th century it even became the official religion among the Uighurs and even reached China. Marco Polo met Manicheans in the Yuan court in the 13th century.

Ruling the Heartland

The Silk Roads were a fabulous vortex of peoples, religions and cultures – something attested by the exceptional collection of Manichean, Zoroastrian, Buddhist and Christian manuscripts, written in Chinese, Tibetan, Sanskrit, Syriac, Sogdian, Persian and Uighur, discovered in the beginning of the 20th century in the Buddhist grottoes of Dunhuang by European orientalists Aurel Stein and Paul Pelliot, following the steps of Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang. In the Chinese unconscious, this is still very much alive.

By now it’s firmly established that the Silk Roads may have started to slowly disappear from history with the Western maritime push to the East since the late 15th century. But the death blow came in the late 17th century, when the Russians and the Manchu in China divided Central Asia. The Qing dynasty destroyed the last nomadic pastoral empire, the Junghars, while the Russians colonized most of Central Eurasia. The Silk Road economy – actually the trade-based economy of the Eurasian heartland – collapsed.

Now, the vastly ambitious Chinese BRI project is inverting the expansion and construction of a Eurasian space to East to West. Since the 15th century – with the end of the Mongol Empire of the Steppes – the process was always from West to East, and maritime, driven by Western colonialism.

The China-Iran partnership may have the capacity to become the emblem of a global phenomenon as far-reaching as the Western colonial enterprises from the 15th to the 20th centuries. Geoeconomically, China is consolidating a first step to solidify its role as builder and renovator of infrastructure. The next step is to build its role in management.

Mackinder, Mahan, Spykman – the whole conceptual “rule the waves” apparatus is being surpassed. China may have been an – exhausted – Rimland power up to the mid-20th century. Now it’s clearly positioned as a Heartland power. Side by side with “strategic partner” Russia. And side by side with another “strategic partner” that happened to be the first historical Eurasian power: Iran.

مركز ثقل العالم ينتقل شرقاً… وطهران مركز تقاطع التاريخ والجغرافيا The center of gravity of the world is moving east … and Tehran is the center of the intersection of history and geography

** Please scroll down for the English Machine translation **

محمد صادق الحسيني

ثمّة حدث بنيويّ على مستوى العالم في طريقه للوقوع من شأنه تغيير شكل وجوهر خريطة التحالفات وموازين القوى العالميّة.

وهو يؤسّس لمرحلة جديدة من التحوّلات والتحديات تتراجع فيها قوى فيما تصعد أخرى لتشكيل جغرافيا آخر الزمان أو ما يُسمّى لدى الأيديولوجيين جغرافياً عصر الظهور…

قوى تقليدية كبرى تتراجع وتضمر فيما قوى جديدة ستأخذ محلّ الصدارة في عالم مليء بالمفاجآت…

في العام 2002 وفي أوج تدافع العالم وتشابكاته بين مَن يدعو لصراع الحضارات (هانتينغتون) ومَن يدعو للحوار بين الحضارات (محمد خاتمي) يقوم الرئيس الصيني بزيارة إلى إيران هي الأولى له بعد الثورة الإسلامية ليعبّر عن تضامنه مع التيار الإيراني المعتدل والعقلاني مقابل الغرب المتوحّش الذي كان يريد الانتقام من كل ما هو غير أميركيّ، بما فيه اوروبا التي كانت بدأت تصفها معاهد الدراسات الأميركية بانها جزء من النصف المظلم من العالم وتحضر لصعود نظرية (نهاية التاريخ) لفوكو ياما، ويتوّج لقاءه بالإمام السيد علي الخامنئي…

يومها كان الخامنئي يعدّ لورقة سمّاها في ما بعد الخطوة الثانية للنهضة الإيرانية الصاعدة… وساعتها بالذات رأى الامام الخامنئي بان اللحظة مناسبة ليقترح على الرئيس الصيني تحالفاً استراتيجياً ضد العنجهيّة والتوحّش الأميركي المتفاقمين…

في تلك السنة اعتذر الرئيس الصيني قبول العرض موضحاً ان بلاده لم تنهِ بعد استعداداتها لعمل كهذا، وهي بحاجة لتنضج ورقتها الخاصة بها في المواجهة ضد أميركا أولاً ومن ثم لكل حادث حديث…

عاد الرجل إلى بكين من دون ان تحدث الزيارة تحوّلاً مهماً في علاقات البلدين عدا انطباعاً لافتاً لديه بوجود جرأة عالية لدى إيران على النظام الدولي التقليدي الذي كان يئن منه العالم واعتقاد راسخ بان لدى الإمام ما يقوله… لينهمك في ما كان يعدّه حزبه من منظومة تحدّ للإمبراطورية الأميركية عرفت في ما بعد بمبادرة «حزام واحد طريق واحد» القاضية بإخراج أميركا تدريجياً وبالاقتصاد وليس بالمواجهة العسكرية عن تصدّر المشهد الدولي للعالم كما نقل لنا السفير المخضرم يومها لي شينتاغ. لكنه لما عاد الى طهران في العام 2016 أي بعد 14 عاماً في ظلّ ظروف دولية اعتبرها مؤاتية وهي خروج إيران من حصار دولي منهك، ونضوج منظومة مبادرته الاقتصادية المعروفة بطريق الحرير، كان هذه المرة هو المبادر في عرض التحالف على الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي…

لعلّ المتابعين والمحللين والباحثين يذكرون انّ موضوع عقد اتفاقيه استراتيجية، بين جمهورية الصين الشعبية والجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية، إنما طرح لأول مرة في ذلك الوقت بالذات وأخذ يخضع للبحث والدراسة والتمحيص، من قبل الطرفين، اي منذ شهر 1/2016، حيث طرح هذا المشروع على بساط البحث، أي مباشرة بهد انتهاء الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ الى طهران في ذلك التاريخ، حيث جاء في بيان مشترك، صدر عن محادثات الرئيسين، بينغ وروحاني، «أن البلدين قد اتفقا على إجراء مفاوضات لعقد اتفاق تعاون موسّع لمدة 25 سنة»، ينص على تعاون واستثمارات في مجالات مختلفة لا سيما النقل والموانئ والطاقة والصناعة والخدمات».

أيّ انّ هذه الاتفاقية الاستراتيجية، التي تم توقيعها يوم السبت الماضي في طهران، من قبل وزيري خارجية البلدين وانغ يي ومحمد جواد ظريف، ليست وليدة اللحظة وإنما هي نتيجةً لدراسات وأبحاث معمقة، نظراً لطبيعتها الاستراتيجية، التي ستسفر عنها نتائج هامة، في المجالين الاقتصادي والسياسي، وعلى صعيد العالم أجمع، وليس فقط على صعيد العلاقات الثنائية بين البلدين، او على علاقتهما بدول الإقليم فقط، وذلك للأسباب التالية:

ـ أولا: الحجم الهائل للاستثمارات المتبادلة، التي سيتم الاتفاق عليها في هذه الاتفاقية، والتي ستصل الى 600 مليار دولار، خلال العقد الثاني من القرن الحالي. حسب ما كتبته صحيفة «بتروليوم ايكونوميست»، في شهر 9/2019، حيث أوضحت بأنّ الصين ستستثمر ما مجموعه 280 مليار دولار في صناعة النفط والغاز الإيرانية، إضافة الى استثمار 120 مليار دولار في قطاع النقل وبناء مطارات وموانئ الى جانب مبالغ كبيرة أخرى لم يعلن عنها حتى الآن، في مجالات أخرى .

أما صحيفة «نيويورك تايمز» الأميركية فقد نشرت في شهر 7/2020، أن هذه الاتفاقية هي عبارة عن شراكة اقتصادية وأمنية كاملة وأنها لن تقتصر على مجال دون غيره، اذ ان من بين المجالات الهامة، التي سيجري تطويرها في إيران، هو مجال البنى التحتية للجيل الخامس في شبكات الاتصالات (G5)، الى جانب تجهيز البنى التحتية لتشغيل نظام تحديد المواقع العالمي الصيني الجديد (ليكون بديلاً عن نظاكم: جي بي إس المستخدم حالياً).

ـ ثانيا: الطبيعة الشمولية أو الشاملة لهذه الاتفاقية، التي تغطي قطاعات الاقتصاد الإيراني الاساسية، مما يجعلها أقرب إلى خطة إنجاز للبنى التحتية اللازمة لتنفيذ جزء هام من مشروع الصين العملاق، حزام واحد طريق واحد، الأمر الذي يجعل هذه الاتفاقية أقرب الى قاعدة انطلاق، لتعزيز وتسريع الخطوات التالية، المرتبطة بتنفيذ هذا المشروع الصيني، خاصة باتجاه دول آسيوية عديدة محيطة بإيران، من خلال إنشاء شبكات سكك حديدية تربط هذه الدول مع الموانئ الإيرانية، إلى جانب الدول الأفريقية والأوروبية، من خلال الطرق التجارية التي تربط الموانئ الإيرانية عبر التاريخ بأفريقيا وآسيا، انطلاقاً من شمال المحيط الهندي ومضيق هرمز والبحر الأحمر (وهذا ما يفسّر مشروع الحرب الأميركية الإسرائيلية السعودية على اليمن بالمناسبة).

ـ ثالثا: إنّ هذه الاتفاقية الاستراتيجية سوف توفر لإيران عمقاً استراتيجياً هاماً وشريكًا دولياً يسارع الخطى للتربع على عرش العالم، اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً، الامر الذي سيساعد إيران بقوة على تجاوز التأثيرات السلبية للعقوبات الأميركية، الاقتصادية والمالية، عليها، كما سيساعدها في الاستغناء عن الشركات الأوروبية المختلفة التخصصات والتي تخلت عن السوق الإيرانية خضوعاً للأوامر الأميركية.

اي انّ البدء بتنفيذ هذه الاتفاقات سوف ينعش الاقتصاد الإيراني بشكل كبير جداً، مما سيدفع بإيران الى مزيد من التقدم المعرفي والعلمي والتكنولوجي والصناعي، الأمر الذي سينعكس إيجاباً على حياة ملايين الإيرانيين الذين فرضت عليهم عقوبات قاسية حرمتهم من الاستفادة من ثروات بلادهم ونالت من مستوى حياتهم وزادت من معاناتهم ليس لسبب إلا لأنهم قرّروا رفض الهيمنة الأميركية على مقدرات بلادهم، التي قرّروا ان تكون تحت سيادتهم وفي خدمة شعبهم وليس في خدمة الشركات الأميركية والأوروبية المتعددة الجنسيات.

ـ رابعا: كما أنّ من الضرورة بمكان النظر الى هذه الاتفاقية من منطلق توقيت توقيعها، الذي يجري الآن، اي بعد مرور سنة على المبادرة الاستراتيجية الصينية، الخاصة بـ «الشرق الاوسط»، والتي طرحت في اجتماعات الدورة التاسعة لمنتدى التعاون العربي الصيني، التي عقدت في شهر تموز 2020 وأهم ما جاء في تلك المبادرة يومها :

الدعوة للاحترام المتبادل، الالتزام بالعدالة والإنصاف، تحقيق عدم انتشار الاسلحة النووية، العمل سوياً على تحقيق الامن الجماعي، وتسريع وتيرة التنمية والتعاون. وقد اتبع وزير الخارجية الصيني وانغ يي، الذي مثل بلاده في الاجتماع المشار إليه اعلاه، يومها طرح هذه المبادرة بتصريحات زادت من وضوحها وأكدت أهميتها، عندما قال خلال الاجتماع: «لا يجوز للمجتمع الدولي اتخاذ قرارات بشأن منطقة «الشرق الأوسط» بدلاً عن شعوب المنطقة». وتابع قائلاً: «إنّ الجانب الصينيّ يدعم بكل ثبات جهود دول «الشرق الأوسط» في الدفاع عن سيادتها واستقلالها وسلامة أراضيها… وأن الصين ترفض أي تدخل في الشؤون الداخلية لدول المنطقة مهما كانت الحجة».

وهذا يعني بشكل واضح جداً أن الصين ستدعم دول المنطقة، وعلى رأسها إيران، في التصدّي للعبث الأميركي الأوروبي فيها والمستمر منذ عشر سنوات، سواءٌ في سورية او العراق او ليبيا او اليمن او فلسطين المحتلة، التي تم تشريد شعبها وإقامة كيان الاحتلال الاسرائيلي على ارضه المغتصبة منذ عام 1948.

ولم يقف الوزير الصيني عند هذه التوضيحات وإنما أضاف وقتها ما هو أهمّ وأعمق لكلامه هذا، حيث قال: «إنّ الصين كعضو دائم في مجلس الأمن الدولي، وبلد كبير مسؤول، قد أصبحت (أيّ الصين) قوة محافظةً ومدافعةً ومساهمة بشكل حازم في النظام الدولي القائم (الراهن) والسلام والتنمية في «الشرق الاوسط».

وعلى الرغم من أنّ هذا الكلام ليس في حاجة للتفسير إلا انّ من الضروري التأكيد على أن الصين تكون قد أعلنت، من خلال هذا الكلام، أنها باتت قطباً اساسياً، ان لم تكن القطب الأساسي، في معالجة المشاكل الدولية والوقوف في وجه سياسات «الهيمنة الغربية وفرض الأمر الواقع بالقوة»، ما يعني انّ مثل هذه الأزمنة الرجعية والإمبريالية قد ولَّت الى غير رجعة.

ـ خامسا: كما لا بدّ من الإشارة الى ان هذه الاتفاقية سوف تفتح آفاقًا جديدةً، على كلّ المستويات، لكلّ من العراق وسورية ولبنان، للانخراط بشكل فعّال، في مشروع طريق واحد وحزام واحد الصيني العملاق، مما سيؤدي الى نهضة اقتصادية عملاقة في تلك البلدان. ويوسّع بالتالي مجالات التعاون بين الصين والدول العربية جميعها، التي قال عنها وزير الخارجية الصيني، في الاجتماع المذكور أعلاه، أنها أهم شريك تجاري دولي في العالم.

وعلى الرغم من أن إيران ليست دولة عربية إلا أنها، وبحكم الكثير من الأسباب والعوامل، جزء أساسيّ، لا بل قوةً إقليميةً كبرى، في منطقة غرب آسيا، الامر الذي يعني أننا أمام تشكل كتلة اقتصاديةٍ كبرى، يزيد عدد سكانها على 500 مليون نسمة وتمتلك ثروات هائلةً، يمكن ان تستثمر بالتعاون الإيجابي مع الصين، في تحقيق ازدهار شامل لشعوب المنطقة، على الرغم من بعض العقبات الموجودة حالياً، بسبب السياسات غير المدروسة لبعض الدول العربية، والتي لن توصل الى اية نتيجة ايجابية لشعوبنا، خاصةً أن هذه السياسات المتبعة من بعض حكامها، التابعة لواشنطن وتل ابيب، قد شكلت رأس حربةٍ لهجوم مضاد للمشروع الصيني طريق واحد وحزام واحد، وبتمويل من هذه السلطات الرجعية.

فها هو الرئيس الاميركي، جو بايدن، يقترح خلال حديثه الهاتفي مع رئيس الوزراء البريطاني بوريس جونسون قبل يوم فقط من زيارة الموفد الصيني لطهران، التفكير في إنشاء ما سماه «بديل ديموقراطي» لمشروع «طريق واحد حزام واحد» الصيني. ايّ انّ بايدن قد أعلن عن مشروع تخريبي للتعاون الصيني الإيراني ومن ثم تعاون الصين مع الدول العربية.

وهنا أيضاً من الضروري بمكان فهم ما اعلنت عنه الامارات العربية المتحدة، من استثمار 10 مليارات دولار في مشاريع اقتصادية مختلفة في الكيان الصهيوني، وذلك قبل أيام معدودة من جولة الوزير الصينيّ للمنطقة، على أنه خطوة أولى على طريق مسار تخريبي إماراتي، بالتعاون مع الكيان الصهيوني، لإلحاق الضرر بالمصالح الاستراتيجية لكلّ من الصين والدول التي تتعاون معها.

ومن هنا أيضاً فإنّ البعض يعتقد بقوّة، بأنه لا بدّ للصين من أن تعيد النظر في سياساتها الاستثمارية، في كلّ من تل ابيب وابو ظبي، خاصة انّ ولي عهد ابو ظبي هو من وقف شخصياً وراء تحريض وزير خارجية ترامب، مايك بومبيو، على تحذير تل أبيب بشدّة من الموافقة على تسليم إدارة ميناء حيفا لشركة موانئ صينية، كما انه هو نفسه الذي حرّض نتن ياهو، عبر دوائر يهودية معينة في الولايات المتحدة (رجل الأعمال اليهودي الاميركي رون لاودَر كمثال) على منع مشاركة الشركات الصينية، في مناقصة لبناء محطة توليد كهرباء، في منطقة بئر السبع، والتي بلغت تكاليف إقامتها ملياراً ونصف المليار دولار!

إنه التنين الصيني الذي يتقدم بخطى ثابتة ومحسوبة بدقة في منطقة نفوذ تاريخية للولايات المتحدة الأميركية ويلاحقها بفطنة عالية وبقدر وهي تتراجع القهقرى يوماً بعد يوم وتحزم حقائبها مغادرة بلادنا بما فيها خيار ستصل اليه في يوم قريب واشنطن وهو التفكير جدياً بإغلاق قاعدتها المتقدمة في المنطقة وهي «إسرائيل» التي باتت تشكل مع الزمن عبئاً ثقيلاً على كاهلها…

وبهذا نكون قد دخلنا بالفعل عملية انتقال مركز ثقل العالم شرقاً مع ظهور قوى إقليمية وأقطاب عالمية مهمة في المسرح الدولي تكاد تكون فيه إيران بيضة القبان في ميزان معادلاته الجديدة في التاريخ كما في الجغرافيا.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة

The center of gravity of the world is moving east … and Tehran is the center of the intersection of history and geography

Iran – China: Brzezinski’s nightmare

Mohammed Sadiq Al-Husseini

A global structural event is on its way to being transformed into a map of alliances and the balance of global power.

It establishes a new phase of transformations and challenges in which forces are retreating while others are ascending o form the geography of the end of time or the so-called the age of the Savior’s appearance…

Major traditional powers are retreating while new powers will take the lead in a world full of surprises…

In 2002, at the height of the global scramble and entanglement between advocates of a clash of civilizations (Huntington) and advocates of dialogue between civilizations (Muhammad Khatami), the Chinese president paid a visit to Iran, his first after the Islamic revolution, to express his solidarity with the moderate and rational Iranian current in exchange for the Wild West, which wanted revenge on all that is un-American, including Europe, which was described by American studies as part of the dark half of the world and preparing for the rise of Fukuyama’s theory (the end of history), culminated in his meeting with Imam Ali Khamenei…

At that time, Khamenei was preparing a paper that he later called the second step of the rising Iranian renaissance … And at that very moment, he saw that the moment was appropriate to propose to the Chinese president a strategic alliance against the escalating American arrogance and brutality …

In that year, the Chinese president apologized to accept the offer, explaining that his country had not completed its preparations for a confrontation with America

The man returned to Beijing without making a significant shift in the relations of the two countries (with remarkable impression that Iran had a high boldness in the traditional international system from which the world was moaning, and a firm belief that the imam had something to say) to get involved in what his party was preparing to challenge the the American Empire with was later known as “One Belt, One Road” initiative to gradually drive America out, by economy, and not the military confrontation, at the forefront of the international scene of the world, as Veteran Ambassador Li Chintag conveyed to us at the time. But when he returned to Tehran in 2016, that is, after 14 years under international conditions, which he considered favorable, namely Iran’s exit from an exhausted international blockade, and the maturity of the system of his economic initiative known as the Silk Road, this time he was the initiator of presenting the alliance to Imam Ali Khamenei

Perhaps observers, analysts and researchers will mention that the subject of a strategic agreement between China and Iran, was presented for the first time at that particular time and was subject to research, study and scrutiny by both parties, that is, since 1/2016, when this project was presented. The discussion, started immediately after the end of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tehran on that date, as it was stated in a joint statement issued by the two presidents, Ping and Rouhani, that the two countries have agreed to conduct negotiations to conclude an expanded cooperation agreement for a period of 25 years, in various fields, especially transport, ports, energy, industry and services.

This strategic agreement, which was signed last Saturday in Tehran by the foreign ministers of the two countries, Wang Yi and Muhammad Javad Zarif, is not a product of the moment, but rather the result of in-depth studies and research, given its strategic nature, which will yield important results, in the economic and political fields. And at the level of the whole world, and not only at the level of bilateral relations between the two countries, or their relationship with the countries of the region only, for the following reasons:

This strategic agreement, which was signed last Saturday in Tehran by the foreign ministers of the two countries, Wang Yi and Muhammad Javad Zarif, is not a product of the moment, but rather the result of in-depth studies and research, given its strategic nature, which will yield important results, in the economic and political fields. And at the level of the whole world, and not only at the level of bilateral relations between the two countries, or their relationship with the countries of the region only, for the following reasons:

First: The huge volume of mutual investments that will be agreed upon in this agreement, which will reach $ 600 billion, during the second decade of this century. According to what was written by the newspaper «Petroleum Economist», in the month of 9/2019, where it indicated that China will invest a total of 280 billion dollars in the Iranian oil and gas industry, in addition to investing 120 billion dollars in the transport sector and building airports and ports in addition to other large sums that have not been announced. Reported so far, in other areas.

As for The New York Times ( 7/2020), the agreement is a complete economic and security partnership and will not be limited to one area alone. Among the important areas that will be developed in Iran is the field of infrastructure. For the fifth generation in communications networks (G5), in addition to preparing the infrastructure to operate the new Chinese global positioning system (to be an alternative to your system: GPS currently used).

Second: The comprehensive nature of this agreement, which covers the basic sectors of the Iranian economy, which makes it closer to a plan for the completion of the necessary infrastructure to implement an important part of the giant China project, one belt, one road, which makes this agreement closer to a starting base, to strengthen and accelerate the next steps related to the implementation of this Chinese project, especially towards many Asian countries surrounding Iran, through the establishment of railway networks linking these countries with Iranian ports, as well as African and European countries, through trade routes linking Iranian ports throughout history with Africa and Asia. From the north of the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Hormuz and the Red Sea (this is what explains the US-Israeli-Saudi war project on Yemen, by the way).

Third: This strategic agreement will provide Iran with an important strategic depth and an international partner that accelerates the pace to ascend the throne of the world, economically, politically and militarily. The specialties that were abandoned from the Iranian market in compliance with American orders.

The start of the implementation of these agreements will greatly revitalize the Iranian economy, which will push Iran to further knowledge, scientific, technological and industrial progress, which will positively affect the lives of millions of Iranians who have been imposed harsh sanctions that have prevented them from benefiting from the wealth of their country and have compromised their lives and increased their suffering for no reason other than their decision to reject the American hegemony over the capabilities of their country, which they decided to be under their sovereignty and in the service of their people and not in the service of American and European multinational companies.

Fourth: It is also necessary to look at this agreement in terms of the timing of its signing, which is taking place now, that is, one year after the Chinese strategic initiative for “the Middle East”, which was presented at the meetings of the ninth session of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum, which was held in July 2020 and the most important things that came in that initiative on that day:

Calling for mutual respect, commitment to justice and equity, achieving non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, working together to achieve collective security, and accelerating the pace of development and cooperation. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who represented his country in the afore mentioned meeting, followed the day to present this initiative with statements that increased its clarity and emphasized its importance, when he said during the meeting: “The international community should not take decisions regarding the” Middle East “region instead of the peoples of the region. ». He added, “The Chinese side firmly supports the efforts of the” Middle East “countries in defending their sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity … and that China rejects any interference in the internal affairs of the countries of the region, regardless of the argument.”

This means very clearly that China will support the countries of the region, foremost of which is Iran, in confronting American and European tampering with it that has been going on for ten years, whether in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen or occupied Palestine, whose people have been displaced and the Israeli occupation entity has been established on its usurped land. Since 1948.

The Chinese minister did not stop at these clarifications, but added what is more important and deeper, as he said: “China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible large country, has become a conservative force, defending and contributing decisively to the existing (current) international order ,peace, and development in the “Middle East”

Although this talk does not need to be explained, it is necessary to emphasize that China has announced, through these words, that it has become a major pole, if not the main pole, in dealing with international problems and standing in the face of “Western hegemony and imposing the status quo by force », which means that such reactionary and imperial times are over forever.

Fifthly: It must also be noted that this agreement will open new horizons, at all levels, for Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to effectively engage in the One Road and One Giant Chinese Belt project, which will lead to a giant economic renaissance in those countries. Consequently, it expands the areas of cooperation between China and all Arab countries, which the Chinese Foreign Minister said, in the afore mentioned meeting, that it is the most important international trade partner in the world.

Although Iran is not an Arab country, it is, by virtue of many reasons and factors, an essential part, and indeed a major regional power, in the West Asia region, which means that we are facing the formation of a major economic bloc, whose population exceeds 500 million people and possesses wealth. It can invest in positive cooperation with China, in achieving comprehensive prosperity for the peoples of the region, despite some obstacles that currently exist, due to the ill-considered policies of rulers of some Arab countries, affiliated with Washington and Tel Aviv, acting as the spearhead of a counterattack on Chinese project, One Road, One Belt, funded by these reactionary authorities.

Here is the US President, Joe Biden, proposing, during his telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, just a day before the Chinese envoy’s visit to Tehran, to consider establishing what he called a “democratic alternative” to the Chinese “one road, one belt” project. In other words, Biden announced a sabotage project for Chinese-Iranian cooperation, and then China’s cooperation with Arab countries.

Here, too, it is necessary to understand what the UAE announced, investing $ 10 billion in various economic projects in the Zionist entity, a few days before the Chinese minister’s tour to the region, as a first step on the path of Emirati sabotage, in cooperation with the Zionist entity to harm the strategic interests of both China and the countries that cooperate with it.

From here also, some strongly believe that China must reconsider its investment policies, in both Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, especially since it was the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi who personally stood behind the incitement of Mike Pompeo, to warn Tal Aviv strongly against handing over the administration of Haifa Port to a Chinese port company, and it is the same who incited Yahoo, through certain Jewish circles in the United States (American Jewish businessman Ron Lauder, as an example) to prevent Chinese companies from participating in a tender to build a power plant In the Beersheba region, whose construction costs amounted to one and a half billion dollars.

It is the Chinese dragon that is advancing steadily and precisely in a historical area of ​​influence of the USA and is pursuing it with high acumen and as much as it retreats day after day and packs its bags to leave our country, including an option that will arrive soon in Washington, which is thinking seriously about closing its advanced base in the region, which is «Israel »Which has become with time a heavy burden on its shoulders.

Thus, we have already entered the process of moving the center of gravity of the world to the east, with the emergence of regional powers and important global poles in the international stage in which Iran is almost the egg in the balance of its new equations in history as well as in geography.

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اتفاق استراتيجي بين إيران والصين لربع قرن.. ماذا في الدلالات والتوقيت؟ A strategic agreement between Iran and China for a quarter of a century. for a quarter of a century.

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

When Tehran, Beijing and Moscow decide to unite together

When Tehran, Beijing, and Moscow decide to come together in the face of destructive foreign policies of successive U.S. administrations, the White House must inevitably calculate the consequences.

Iran and China are moving beyond a new phase of bilateral relations, after years of talks and discussions put the points on the letters within the framework of a strategic cooperation document in all fields, while China is advancing in an upward, strong and rapid way to the consolidation of the global economy, and Iran has huge energy resources and prospers scientifically and is active industrially, and here liesthe importance of convergence between them.

The two sides describe this document as a roadmap for the future of bilateral relations, its provisions include trade, economic, military, and cultural cooperation in a way that gives the two sides mutual privileges in accordance with the mutual profit equation.

The agreement details cooperation from crude oil and nuclear power to railways, telecommunications, banking and the use of the national currency, to Iran’s role in the Belt and Road Initiative.

It is an agreement of great geopolitical importance because it also includes the exchange of military expertise, defense capabilities, security cooperation and support in international    forums.

It is true that economic cooperation is the cornerstone of this treaty, but according to observers it is a political challenge to the common adversaries of the two countries, and it opens the door to a new kind of confrontation against the European-Americancamp.

The importance of the agreement lies not only in substance, in the form of the timing of a thousand accounts as well, where China simultaneously is subjected to threats from the United States and Iran to sanctions and Russia to blockade. With the signing of the cooperation agreement, it highlights the role Tehran will play in the horizon of this agreement, which will serve as a benefit to its growingrole.

Iran’s important location, located on the land route of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, gives it an opportunity to link to regional infrastructure, which is inseparable from port andrail networks.

On this basis, the above will reflect huge economic gains, but also a strategy that is no less important than economic ones, as deepening Iran’s ties to regional infrastructure will result in international interests in defending Iran to counter U.S.policies.

On the other hand, China’s military and economic expansion and technological superiority are the most feared by Washington and its officials, and reducing Chinese influence has become one of the top priorities of the new U.S. administration.

The United States sees China as its biggest threat, and to its leading position in the world, its president Joe Biden  has positioned since entering the White House to outdo China and prevent it from expanding further on the international scene as its first target.

U.S. concern stems from a reality in which China has imposed its power, through its success in gradually expanding and considering with reliable allies such as Iran, Russia and others, as well as raising the level of its military readiness.

China’s access to Iranian ports as part of a strategy of access to as many seaports as possible limits U.S. dominance in the Gulf as Chinese presence, specifically at the port of Jask near the Strait of Hormuz, is limited by U.S. Fifth Fleet’s headquarters in Bahrain.

China’s expansion comes on the heels of the failure of the Alaska-U.S. meetings, the first between the two parties under Biden, in the absence of common ground for understanding, and the tyranny of sharpness on bilateral talks, which were punctuated by an unprecedented verbal scathing, during which Beijing’s behavior was evident on the basis of the club.

These are important strategic shifts in China’s policy toward the world order and regional politics and evidence that the increasing deterioration in relations between Washington and Beijing is no longer manageable and, according to observers, threatens to widen theconfrontation.

“The partnership with China allows Iran to support its economy very much,” said Jamal Wakim, a professor of history and internationalrelations.

“The Iran-China partnership allows the heart of Eurasia to be closed to U.S. penetration,” Wakim said, noting that “seaports are essential for controlling navigation routes and international trade.”

“There is strategic integration between Iran, China and Russia on geopolitical issues,” Wakim said, noting that “Washington’s problem is that it wants absolute dominance on the course of things in theworld.”

“Washington is afraid of Chinese expansion,” said Khaled Sfouri, political advisor at the Meridian Center for Strategic Studies, adding that “America fears that China’s economic progress will turn into politicalinfluence.”

“China is a key economic partner ofthe United States thatcannot be easily abandoned,” he said, adding that “The Chinese influence that is entering the areas of American influence is makingthe clash between the two sidessoon.”

“If the Russian-Chinese agreement is signed, there is hope that the trilateral alliance with Iran will become a trilateral alliance with Iran, “said Imad Absinas, editor-in-chief of Iran Diplomat, noting that “the formation of the Trilateral Sino-Iranian-Russian alliance will be a source of danger toAmerica.”

“According to the agreement, Iran will be theheart of East-West trade,” Hesaid, noting that “the agreement stipulates that China will produce a lot of goods in Iran.”

“If Washington wants to continue its policy of imposing its will on the world, it will lose a lot,” He said, adding that “the Israeli-American and Saudi media reflects the extent of anger over the Iran-China  agreement.”

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إيران والصين توقعان الوثيقة الشاملة للتعاون لمدة 25 عاما

عندما تقرر طهران وبكين وموسكو الاتحاد معاً في مواجهة سياسات خارجية مدمرة للإدارات الأميركية المتعاقبة، فعلى البيت الأبيض حتماً احتساب العواقب

عندما تقرر طهران وبكين وموسكو الاتحاد معاً

واشنطن حددت خصومها، فاختاروا التقارب رداً طبيعياً لمن يرفض الهمينة الأميركية 

المصدر: الميادين

27 آذار 23:18


تخط إيران والصين مرحلة جديدة من العلاقات الثنائية، فبعد سنوات من المحادثات والنقاشات وضع الطرفان النقاط على الحروف في إطار وثيقة تعاون استراتيجية في المجالات كافة، فيما تتقدم الصين على نحو متصاعد وقوي وسريع لتتسيد الاقتصاد العالمي، وإيران تملك موارد ضخمة للطاقة وتزدهر علمياً وتنشط صناعياً، وهنا تكمن أهمية التقارب بينهما.

يصف الطرفان هذه الوثيقة بخارطة الطريق لمستقبل العلاقات الثنائية، فبنودها تشمل التعاون تجارياً واقتصادياً وعسكرياً وثقافياً بشكل يمنح الطرفين امتيازات متبادلة وفق معادلة الربح المتبادل.

تتحدث الاتفاقية بالتفصيل عن أوجه التعاون من النفط الخام والطاقة النووية إلى سكك الحديد والاتصالات والعمل المصرفي واستخدام العملة الوطنية، وصولاً إلى دور إيران في مبادرة الحزام والطريق.

هي اتفاقية تمتلك أهمية جيوسياسية كبرى لكونها تشمل أيضاً تبادل خبرات عسكرية وقدرات دفاعية وتعاوناً أمنياً واسناداً في المحافل الدولية. لا بل أكثر من ذلك، هو اتفاق على توسيع التعاون بين الجامعات وأقسام التكنولوجيا والعلوم والسياحة.

صحيح أن التعاون الاقتصادي يشكل عمود الأساس في المعاهدة هذه، إلا أنه بحسب مراقبين يعتبر تحدياً سياسياً لخصوم البلدين المشتركين، وهو يفتح الباب على نوع جديد من المواجهة ضد المعسكر الأوروبي الأميركي.

ولا تكمن أهمية الاتفاقية في المضمون فقط، ففي الشكل يحسب للتوقيت ألف حساب أيضاً، حيث بالتزامن تتعرض الصين للتهديدات الأميركية وإيران للعقوبات وروسيا للحصار. ومع توقيع اتفاقية التعاون، يسلط الضوء على الدور الذي ستؤديه طهران في أفق هذا الاتفاق الذي سيصب لمصلحة تعاظم دورها.

فموقع إيران المهم الذي يقع على المسار البري لمبادرة الحزام والطريق الصينية، يمنحها فرصة للارتباط بالبنية التحتية الإقليمية، وهو ما لا ينفصل عن شبكات الموانئ والسكك الحديدية.

على هذا الأساس، سينعكس ما سبق وفق مراقبين مكاسب اقتصادية ضخمة، لا بل استراتيجية أيضاً لا تقل أهمية عن الاقتصادية منها، فتعميق الارتباط الإيراني بالبنية التحتية الإقليمية سينتج مصالح دولية في الدفاع عن إيران لمواجهة السياسات الأميركية.

من الناحية الأخرى، فإن التوسع العسكري والإقتصادي للصين وتفوقها التكنولوجي، أكثر ما تخشاه واشنطن والمسؤولين فيها، حتى بات الحد من النفوذ الصيني أحد أبرز الأولويات للإدارة الأميركية الجديدة.

ترى الولايات المتحدة في الصين التهديد الأكبر لها، ولموقعها القيادي في العالم، رئيسها جو بايدن وضع منذ دخوله البيت الأبيض التفوق على الصين ومنعها من التوسع أكثر على الساحة الدولية هدفاً أولاً له.

القلق الأميركي ينبع من واقع فرضت فيه الصين قوتها، عبر نجاحها في التوسع التدريجي والمدروس مع حلفاء موثوقين مثل ايران وروسيا  وغيرهما إضافة إلى رفع مستوى جهوزيتها العسكرية.

كذلك، فإن وصول الصين إلى الموانئ الإيرانية ضمن استراتيجية تقوم على النفاذ إلى أكبر عدد ممكن من الموانئ البحرية، يحد من الهيمنة الأميركية في الخليج حيث اقترب الحضور الصيني، وتحديداً في ميناء “جاسك” القريب من مضيق هرمز من مقر الأسطول الخامس الأميركي في البحرين.

توسع صيني يأتي على وقع فشل اجتماعات ألاسكا بين الصين وأميركا، الأول بين الطرفين في عهد بايدن، في ظل غياب أرضية مشتركة للتفاهم، وطغيان الحدة على المحادثات الثنائية، التي تخللها تراشق كلامي لم يسبق له مثيل، وبدا واضحاً أثناءها تصرف بكين على أساس الندية.

هي تحولات استراتيجية مهمة في السياسة الصينية تجاه النظام العالمي والسياسات الإقليمية ودليل على أن التدهور الذي يتزايد في العلاقات بين واشنطن وبكين، لم يعد ممكنا ضبطه، وبات ينذر، وفق مراقبين، باتساع رقعة المواجهة.

أستاذ التاريخ والعلاقات الدولية جمال واكيم، قال إن “الشراكة مع الصين تتيح لإيران أن تدعم اقتصادها جداً”.

وفي حديث للميادين، أضاف واكيم، أن “الشراكة الإيرانية الصينية تتيح إغلاق قلب أوراسيا أمام التغلغل الأميركي”، مشيراً إلى أن “الموانئ البحرية أساسية للسيطرة على طرق الملاحة والتجارة الدولية”.

من جهته، قال المستشار السياسي لمركز ميريديان للدراسات الاستراتيجية خالد صفوري، قال إن “واشنطن تخشى من التوسع الصيني”، موضحاً أن “أميركا تخشى أن يتحول التقدم الاقتصادي الصيني إلى نفوذ سياسي”.

صفوري أكد للميادين، أن “الصين شريك اقتصادي أساسي للولايات المتحدة لا تستطيع التخلي عنها بسهولة”، معتبراً أن “النفوذ الصيني الذي بدأ يدخل مناطق النفوذ الأميركي يجعل الصدام بين الطرفين قريباً”.

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Official: Biden Must Learn From History, Drop Language of Force against Iran

Official: Biden Must Learn From History, Drop Language of Force against Iran

By Staff, Agencies

An Iranian official says the Islamic Republic will never engage in any negotiations with the United States under pressure and threats, warning new American President Joe Biden against making the same mistakes that his predecessors made in their treatment of the Iranian nation.

In a tweet on Friday, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who advises the Iranian Parliament’s speaker on international affairs, said “Biden must learn lessons from history” and avoid going down the same path of confrontation taken by previous US administrations vis-à-vis Iran.

“The great and mighty nation of Iran should be addressed with the power of logic rather than the logic of brute force,” wrote the official. “Without any doubt, no negotiations will be held with the United States under pressure and threats.”

Amir-Abdollahian once again reaffirmed Iran’s position and ruled out any negotiations with the United States on the nuclear deal.

“The United States should first focus on negotiations with its own nations, which has become bipolar,” referring to the political chaos that broke out in America following the disputed 2020 presidential election.

“The sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran are taking their last breaths,” he added.

The comments come amid a diplomatic spat over the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, whose fate has been shrouded in doubt since Washington’s unilateral pullout in May 2018.

Following its exit, the US under then president Donald Trump re-imposed the tough economic sanctions on Iran that were lifted by the UN-endorsed agreement in an abortive attempt to force Iran back to the negotiating table so Washington can get more concessions from Tehran and secure a “better deal.”

Under Trump, tensions between Iran and the US reached a new high as the hawkish president unleashed a so-called maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic with the aim of paralyzing its economy and international dealings.

Washington also successfully pressured its European allies in the deal – France, Germany and Britain – (to evade their own contractual commitments to Tehran, mainly neutralizing the US economic sanctions).

Correction by Brother roberthstiver,: the above Para should read:  “to evade their own contractual commitments to Tehran that had mainly neutralized the US economic sanctions“.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran began to retaliate by resorting to its legal rights under Article 36 of the JCPOA and suspending its obligations stipulated in the accord.

Now, Biden – who served as vice president when the Iran deal was inked – has indicated a desire to rejoin the deal, but, in practice, he has so far adhered to his predecessor’s pressure policy, despite criticism of Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

Turning a blind eye to the fact that it was the US that first threw the deal in crisis, the Biden administration says Tehran should take the first step towards reviving the deal by resuming its commitments before Washington comes back to compliance.

Iran, however, insists that the ball is in America’s court, and that it will not reverse its countermeasures unless the US lifts all the sanctions it imposed on the Islamic Republic after quitting the deal practically and verifiably.

Amid the spat, the Biden administration offered last month to attend joint talks with Iran and other parties to the deal over the matter. Tehran, however, says no such talks or meetings are needed and Washington can only rejoin the negotiations after meeting Tehran’s condition.

They say that great myths die hard

They say that great myths die hard …

February 28, 2021

By The Ister for the Saker Blog

They say that great myths die hard, but as it fades into obscurity will anyone really miss the Saudi state?

Because the Kingdom’s cosmopolitan elite longed to be like the West, they imported European sports cars and erected enormous skyrises using slave labor. Riyadh and Jeddah transformed into shopping centers and hubs of oligarchic largesse while the oil-rich sheiks appeased the conservative populace by sanctioning Wahhabist doctrine, public beatings and beheadings, and other backwards symbolic gestures.

Saudi Arabia is essentially based on this great contradiction: posturing itself as the hardline leader of the Islamic world while aligning with America and carrying out a foreign policy that has killed countless Muslims, a contradiction that exists because it is an artificial construct of imperialism.

In the early 1900s, British spies in the Middle East sought to partition off Ottoman claims in the Arab Peninsula with the help of Arab rebels such as Emir Faisal. These spies who included Edmund Allenby and the famous T E Lawrence led the Arab Revolt of 1916 and successfully revoked Ottoman control of the region.

A little-known fact is that Israel and Saudi Arabia share this same point of origin. In December of 1918 after the success of the Arab Revolt, Lord Walter Rothschild held a banquet for Emir Faisal culminating in the signing of the Faisal-Weizmann agreement, used to demonstrate Arab support for the Balfour Declaration: the document that laid the foundation for the state of Israel. The rebels who had been promised a unified Arab state stretching from Aden to Aleppo had been lied to however, as the leaked Sykes Picot agreement revealed a plot by imperial powers to divide and conquer the Middle East along sectarian lines.

Today the pan-Arab doctrine of the government of Bashar al-Assad is the ideological progenitor of those early rebels who fought to unite the Arab world against the wishes of imperialists. The stoking of the Syrian Civil War was just an extension of century-old divide and conquer tactics, as the West sought to enrage Sunnis against the secular Syrian Arab government for the betterment of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, and Israel. Recall too that neo-Ottoman Turkey is aware of the imperial history and sees Syria as Ottoman territory lost to the West.

If the Syrian revolution ever had a grassroots base it was in the impoverished Sunni Idlib governorate, where Turkey and Saudi Arabia had for decades financed Salafist mosques and imams with the intention of eventually breaking this region off from Syria. Although the remaining terrorists in Idlib have yet to be defeated, Saudi Arabia’s failure to achieve full regime change in the Syrian Civil War marks its waning power: previously both Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein spoke out in favor of pan-Arabism and denounced the Saudis at the cost of their lives. Unlike the ideological and religious bonds that tie America and Israel, America’s commitment to Saudi Arabia was always strategically contingent and several developments suggest that it is declining.

America has abandoned support for the war in Yemen

The war against the Houthi movement in Yemen has been fought with a threefold strategy: sanctions to starve the Yemeni population, targeted assassinations to kill Shia imams and others tied to the Houthis, and traditional military force by Saudi conscripts. The Kingdom’s force has performed poorly and relied heavily on support from America. In one case in 2019, the Saudis were planning an attack in the disputed town of Najran in retaliation for missile strikes on Riyadh oil facilities. They were baited into a trap and over 2,500 were captured by Houthi forces. In blind retaliation, they struck a Houthi prison in Yemen and killed over 290 of their own prisoners.

It is no surprise in such conditions that morale is low among the Kingdom’s soldiers and that Iran has supported the Houthi side with weapons and intelligence.

Why has America abandoned its ally in the conflict? Simply, we don’t need Saudi oil as much anymore. Shale gas technology completely changed the nature of the global oil and gas industry and broke the Saudi monopoly. Recall my article The Empire is Losing the Energy War. Since then, more confirmation of this thesis has come around as prices have risen – beneficial to Russia, and oil experts have broadly agreed that Russia has won the most recent price war with the Saudis. America’s withdrawal in Yemen is an acknowledgement of their diminishing role and a reason which under Trump’s “Middle East Peace Plan” Saudi Arabia panickedly sought to tie its future not to oil production but to the creation of a joint security bloc against Iran.

Pipeline developments: NordStream 2 and Goreh Jask

By mid-2020, two major new pipelines are expected to be built. The first is the NordStream 2, which will cement Russia’s control of European energy markets. Washington is moving in slow motion to try and stop this pipeline but it is basically already done. Only 100 miles of pipe remain and the Biden admin’s early smackdown of the American energy industry with the Keystone XL cancellation means that there will not be enough American gas to provide an alternative to Russia. The German public retains a dislike for Russia but the industrialists have pushed ahead regardless.

NordStream 2 serves two other geopolitical purposes. First, Ukraine will be deprived of $1-2 billion of energy transit revenue, a big deal for a country with a $150 billion GDP. This also lowers NATO’s interest in Ukraine, which will suddenly have less of an ability to bottleneck Russian energy shipments to Europe. Second, the pipeline also reduces Russia’s exposure to Turkey as an energy transit and will allow Russia to be more “gloves off” in northern Syria without risking economic retaliation.

Iran’s Goreh Jask pipeline is expected to be completed by June 2021, and the development will improve the country’s energy situation by limiting its reliance on the Strait of Hormuz and opening up Southeast Asian markets to Iranian oil. In addition to promoting economic ties with the rest of Asia the move also allows Iran to potentially shut off the Strait of Hormuz in a crisis situation, a hypothetical move which never made sense in the past given that it would kill its own energy exports. Naturally, sanctions have been applied to the project but this has simply been used as an opportunity to develop domestic industrial capacity: over 95% of the parts for the Goreh Jask pipeline have been sourced domestically.

Iran is increasing its influence in Iraq and Syria

The increased Iranian influence on Iraq suggests that supporting the overthrow of Saddam Hussein may have been a miscalculation by the Western bloc. The government of Hussein was aggressive on Iran-Iraq border issues and had a large and powerful military. With Iraq’s expensive military infrastructure largely destroyed and a diminished American presence, Iran has grown its soft power both through religious and economic outreach.

In southeastern Iraq, Iran is massively expanding and developing Shia shrines at sites like Kerbala as a method of promoting its influence. Some of these developments are enormous, for example the $600 million expansion of the Imam Hussein shrine, which was mostly constructed with Iranian funds and parts. These developments also give economic opportunity to both Shia and Sunni Iraqis who are paid to work in construction and benefit from increased tourism. Conducting business in eastern Iraq also gives Iran an opportunity to transact in a region unaffected by sanctions.

Political power is another way that Iran has expanded its reach. The prime minister of Iraq is aligned with the Saudis and Americans but outnumbered in parliament by pro-Iranian MPs, and has been able to do little to diminish the Iranian presence.

As far as Syria, the Iranian angle must be considered. In July of 2015, Quds force General Qasem Soleimani visited Moscow to work out the details of the Russian intervention with Vladimir Putin. Although Moscow denies this likely to maintain good relations with Israel, Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah recently stated that it was Soleimani that convinced Putin to enter the conflict. What was exchanged during that conversation in July of 2015? It is impossible to know but it can be reasonably assumed based on how things unfolded that the Russian intervention was largely a cover for Iranian movement into Syria.

The majority of the leg work performed in the Syrian Civil War was done by Syrians and Iranians. While Russia provided crucial air support and logistics, the on-the-ground troop counts have remained small. What Russian intervention did however was to provide the stamp of legitimacy of a powerful, nuclear armed nation to the Syrian/Iranian side, to prevent any major invasion, and to quickly soften the tones on the Assad government. By clearing ISIS out of central Syria, Iran has now created a contiguous path through Syria and Lebanon and upheld its Syrian ally at the expense of the Saudis.

Pakistan is drifting to Iran

In recent history Pakistan has been heavily dependent on Saudi Arabia, in part due to a Sunni majority and a large amount of outstanding loans financed by the Kingdom. As Sheikh Imran Hosein put it unflatteringly, Pakistan has served as “a shoeshine boy for the Saudis.” Several wedges are growing between this strong historical relationship.

First, Pakistan is warming to its neighbor Iran and the new prime minister of Pakistan has accelerated ties with its western neighbor in many areas. One is the accelerated development of a massive Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad railway which highlights an emerging challenge to Saudi supremacy: the nascent Turkey/Iran/Malaysia/Qatar bloc in the Muslim world could potentially expand to include Pakistan. Keeping Pakistan away from Iran has long been an intention of the Saudis, who sought to fuel tensions with their neighbor by financing anti-Shia terrorism in Pakistan in the 80s and 90s. Nevertheless, the two countries seem to be getting over it and the populations of both nations rate each other positively in opinion polling.

Another sign of nervousness in the West about Pakistan-Iranian integration is the failed attempt to stop the construction of the new Iran-Pakistan oil pipeline with threats of sanctions. This will further pull Pakistan into the Iranian orbit.

A new major straining factor on the relationship with Saudi Arabia is Riyadh’s unwillingness to defend Pakistan’s claims to the disputed Kashmir border region. Pakistan has hoped that the Kingdom would defend its claim, but Saudi Arabia has been unwilling to do so.

Finally, there is the issue of Israel. Saudi Arabia would like to recognize Israel as soon as possible but doing so would cause massive protests in Pakistan and ruin the Saudi reputation there. Therefore it is trying to pressure Pakistan to first recognize Israel, something which would be unpopular and put the Pakistani government in a precarious situation domestically.

The Saudis are losing their status as the head of the Muslim world

Consider the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan’s recent comments while promoting the D-8 organization of Islamic nations:

“Countries like Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Russia and China have the potential to form a new alliance for better future of the region”

None of this economic integration would be occurring if not for the US sanctions policy. The impact of sanctions has been to lay the groundwork for creation of a “Zone B” which circumvents the Empire entirely. A model that replaces proxy wars, regime change, and terrorist funding with peaceful economic integration and diplomacy. If Iran had full access to international markets it would have been content to sell its exports to the highest bidder and would not be forced to expand its influence regionally as it is currently doing.

What does this emerging “Zone B” look like? Well, let’s start with the Muslim countries labeled an “Axis of Evil” by George Bush and John Bolton:

Syria, Iraq, Iran. And of course we can add in Lebanon, Yemen, and Palestine right off the bat to this anti-imperial bloc. The growing ties between Sunni Pakistan, heterogeneous Syria, and Shia Iran foreshadow a geographically contiguous model of peaceful relations between Islamic nations untainted by the Takifirism of Saudi Arabia, with Syria and Lebanon serving as a tolerant bridge between the Sunni and Shia regions of the Arab world.

This bloc could then be combined with the D-8 Muslim countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Turkey. D-8 alone represents one billion people and over 60% of the Islamic world. Iran, as a major advocate of inter-Islamic integration through organizations such as D-8 would be the lynchpin connecting the resistance nations of the Arab world with the larger emerging Islamic economies in a new trade network to bypass sanctions. (It is worth adding that all D-8 nations other than Turkey supported Syria’s side against Saudi in the civil war, so such an alliance is not much of a stretch by any means.)

Add in China, Russia, Mongolia, Myanmar, and the ‘stans and this new Asian empire would come to span a lion’s share of the planet’s population, GDP, energy resources, and habitable surface area. Moscow and Berlin would emerge as gates between East and West while the sprawling trading network of China would provide an alternative to the overregulated and strings-attached commerce and financing available in the West. China has already replaced America as the major trading partner for most nations.

Though there are other concurrent factors at play, the state of Saudi Arabia which once served as the lynchpin for dividing the Islamic world is diminishing, as Eurasian integration progresses naturally. No color revolutions or regime change are required for this process to continue because:

Zone A’s claims to upholding human rights and other civil liberties increasingly appear like a bad joke: undermined by lockdowns, tech censorship, and politically correct speech codes

Zone B is working past historic rivalries in the pursuit of development while Zone A embraces legally enshrined racism and creates complex taxonomies of privilege to delineate tiers of citizenship

Zone B’s population is growing while Zone A’s is declining

Zone B’s share of global wealth is growing while Zone A’s is declining

Zone B has a burgeoning middle class while Zone A’s middle class is disappearing

Zone B is doing away with extreme politics while Zone A is swept by cultural revolution


The Ister is a researcher of financial markets and geopolitics. Author of The Ister: Escape America

Joe Biden Adopts a Trump Approach to Iran

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

An Analysis () by Lawrence Davidson

9 February 2021

Part I—Joe Biden, the Good Stuff

All right! Let’s hear it for Joe Biden! Our new president is leading us in the direction of domestic sanity, and there are even hints of progressive potential in his evolving agenda. Under his leadership, we might soon master the Covid-19 plague and dig ourselves out of our near-depression economic straits. This is terrific!

Some good news when it comes to foreign policy as well. You’ll remember that in Trump’s determination to “make “American great again” (MAGA), the former president decided that international organizations and cooperation were impediments to national greatness. Thus, he systematically withdrew from a number of alignments and also scorned international law. This approach appears to have been part of a MAGA scheme to subvert international order. Its nihilistic undertones were highlighted by the creepy leaders who seemed to warm Trump’s heart. He found men such as the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, along with a long list of dictators ranging from Rodrigo Duterte in Philippines to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi inEgypt, to be really congenial. There was also Trump’s warm admiration for the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. 

President Biden has saved us from this sort of delinquency. He is now operating under new and saner marching orders: “diplomacy is back” and multilateralism is in. The U.S. has recommitted to the international effort to slow down global warming and has rejoined the World Health Organization. Biden has ended all participation in the immoral Yemen civil war and, so it is reported, told the Russians to keep their invasive cyber-fingers to themselves. 

At this point you might have the urge to celebrate what appears to be a full 180-degree turn from Donald Trump’s demented worldview. But hold on, that is not quite the case. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, it appears that a residual lawlessness can be found in at least one the Biden’s foreign policies. We can recognize it in the game he is playing with Iran. 

Part II—Scuttling the JCPOA

Recall that in 2015 then-President Obama invested a lot of political capital, not to mention putting forth a remarkable display of good sense, in helping to negotiate a multilateral agreement with Iran. This is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and it was multilateral because it included not just the U.S. and Iran but also the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China as well as Germany (collectively referred to as the P5+1). Basically, the agreement stated that, under a regime of international monitoring, Iran would forgo any development of nuclear weapons and convert its nuclear facilities to peacetime pursuits. In exchange, the P5+1 would lift all nuclear-related economic sanctions, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and the release of frozen assets. It was a rare display of effective diplomacy and it worked—until Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, unilaterally scuttled the deal. 

Trump withdrew from the agreement in early May 2018. By January 2020 he had increased the number of Iran-related sanctions to over one thousand. In 2019, Trump was suggesting that if Iran wanted to enter into new negotiations with the U.S., he would consider lifting some of the sanctions. Iran refused to begin the negotiating process over again with Trump. On 15 January 2021, five days before leaving office, Trump added new sanctions. Why did he display such maliciousness? Besides a bizarre hatred for anything Obama had achieved, and the disdain for international cooperation which supposedly stood in the way of his MAGA fantasies, there are other factors. Trump is a truly amoral schemer (we might think of him as a modern-day lawless Borgia). And so he almost naturally fell in with amoral regimes with active domestic lobbies in the U.S. (such as Saudi Arabia and Israel), as well as a “pay to play” approach for the votes and donations of Americans who have a grudge against or fear of Iran. Here we can name not only the Zionists, but also the wealthy Iranians who took refuge in the U.S. after Iran’s 1979 revolution. Many of these are Iranian monarchists who want to see regime change in Iran through the return of a shah (king).

Under the circumstances, the Iranian government reaction has been understandable: they see themselves as the aggrieved party. They had negotiated the JCPOA in good faith. They had met the conditions of the agreement to the satisfaction of international monitors. The other side had failed to respond as promised. Not only had the U.S. broke the agreement without cause, but it had then blackmailed its European allies into breaking their commitments under the agreement. This was done by the Trump administration declaring that any party that broke Washington’s sanctions against Iran would themselves be sanctioned.

After a year or so, Iran, noting that it was the only party paying attention to the deal and that the sanctions still applied, began to slowly back away from the nuclear agreement’s provisions. However, it was not until January 2020 that the Iranians announced they would no longer limit their number of centrifuges and thus their capacity to enrich uranium. Even then it was not the obscene number of American sanctions or the gross failure of the Europeans to abide by their promises that finally “broke the camel’s back.” It was Trump’s ordering of the murder of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on 3 January 2020—essentially an act of war, and certainly one in violation of international law.

Part III—Joe Biden, the Bad Stuff

Now Trump is gone and we have Joe Biden, who, by the way, has not done the right thing and affirmed that his administration would rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. Instead he declared that “I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations” (my emphasis). Later he said that the subsequent negotiations would involve the Islamic Republic’s “violations of human rights and Iran’s role in the regional conflicts.” On its face, this is not an invitation to return to a stabilizing status quo ante, or even a supposed “credible path back to diplomacy.” It is a take-it-or-leave-it demand. This position is remarkably similar to that of Trump posturing for new negotiations back in 2019. And since, as of 7 February 2021, Biden has refused to lift sanctions on Iran—has refused to cease driving that country into poverty—these are no longer Trump’s sanctions. Biden now owns this horror show. Here are some of Biden’s fatal steps.

It was about nine days into the new administration that Biden’s officials began to reference foreign policy and Iran. First appeared Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, who told the U.S. Institute of Peace that “a critical early priority has to be to deal with what is an escalating nuclear crisis as they [Iran] move closer and closer to having enough fissile material for a weapon.” One wonders if Sullivan got his start in advertising, because his description is a purposeful mischaracterization of the situation. The descriptor “escalating nuclear crisis” is a woeful exaggeration. If there is any “crisis” at all, it is because Washington has failed to meet its commitments under the 2015 agreement. The Iranians have repeatedly made it clear that they have no interest in nuclear weapons. And, one can imagine the only thing that could change their mind is an existential outside threat. To date, the only ones that pose such threats are allies of the U.S.: Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Then stepped up Tony Blinken, Biden’s new secretary of state, to continue the new administration’s maneuvers. To wit, Blinken stated “Tehran must resume complying with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal before Washington would do so.” This sort of statement is a rather childish, you-go-first challenge. Blinken then explained that if Iran returns to the deal, Washington would seek to build what Blinken called a “longer and stronger agreement” that would deal with other “deeply problematic” issues. He did not name these, but Biden for his part has drawn attention to Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and its support for proxy forces in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

It took the Iranians no time at all to recognize this gambit for what it is, an effort to enlarge restrictions on Iranian military capacity beyond the scope of the original 2015 agreement. Almost immediately, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, responded that the U.S. position was not practical and will not happen and then added in an op-ed in Foreign Affairs,“once a party leaves an agreement, then that party has no authority demanding others’ compliance to that agreement.”

The Iranians did come back with a more doable proposal to deal with the “who goes first” dilemma. Teheran proposed a timed, mutual U.S. and Iranian return to the original agreement. In an interview with CNN, the Iranian foreign minister said “both countries should synchronize their JCPOA-related moves under the supervision of the European Union”—in other words, achieve the goal with a step-by-step coordinated process. The Biden administration said no to Zarif’s offer, and sane minds, noting the rejection, could hear eerie Trump-like snickering in the surrounding ether. 

Part IV—Conclusion

We have already asked why Trump decided to act in such a malicious manner toward Iran. Now we can ask why Joe Biden has decided to mimic his predecessor and continue a callous, hard-line approach to that same country. As it turns out, the answer is not all that different. Biden is subject to the same lobby pressure from groups to which he has a demonstrated sympathy. Among these are some of the well known suspects mentioned above, but first and foremost are Israel and its Zionist supporters (a rundown of these can be found in a full-page ad in the 5 February 2021 New York Times). 

We can also add one other grouping to this list—various civil rights organizations who would use the moment to pressure Teheran to increase the level of civil liberties allowed in the country. However, as Behrooz Ghamari Tabriz, writing in  Counterpunch notes, “It is a hard sell for those who are genuinely concerned with the question of human rights to ask the American government to be the agent of that change. So long as our government supports the region’s most oppressive regimes, it is hard to imagine that it has any moral authority or political capital to spend on issues of human rights in Iran.”

It is hard to know what exactly is going on inside Joe Biden’s head on this issue. We can assume that it is nothing really analytical. His administration’s actions have, so far, run counter to the other precedents he is laying down in the areas of international cooperation and leadership. They also go against logic. One can imagine no better way to move the Iranians toward nuclear weapons capability than the policies now being pursued. Until Biden acts, in terms of Iran, in the interests of achievable nuclear restraint and stability, that is in the real interests of the country he leads, rather than this or that interest group, he will carry around the residual chains of Donald Trump’s miserable legacy. 

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