The details of the 25-year, $400 billion Iran-China deal, officially the “strategic co-operation pact” signed in March are murky at best.
A previously leaked draft document of the agreement suggested a wide-spanning agreement to include infrastructure, telecommunications and security co-operation.
Iran-China deal first proposed in 2016, also calls for joint military training and exercises, joint research and weapons development, and intelligence sharing.
Expanding Chinese assistance to Iran also means that Beijing would be providing direct support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The IRGC, through its overseas arm, the Quds Force, has been responsible for exporting terror and for arming the Iranian regime’s proxy militias throughout the region, including in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Bahrain, Yemen and Afghanistan.
The IRGC has undermined the sovereignty of regional governments and is responsible for thousands of deaths and misery throughout the Middle East and beyond.
Chinese-Iranian deal-making could extend to arms sales to Iran, though any such sales by China risk incurring sanctions from the United States.
Tehran’s greatest interest lies in Russian tanks, jets and air defence systems, Defence News reported in November. That said, some opportunities do exist for Beijing.
“Iran’s interest in procuring loitering munitions (otherwise known as kamikaze drones), UAVs and armed unmanned boats means China will likely supply modern technologies to help the Middle Eastern country develop unmanned naval vessels and aerial drones,” Defence News reported, quoting Bahraini analyst Abdullah al-Junaid.
The IRGC is a big supporter of Tehran’s deal with Beijing, because it hopes to buy missiles from China, so it can reverse engineer them and improve its own weaponry.
A large section of the Iranian public is against Chinese presence on Iran’s economic scene.
Even if the regime were to earn money from such a deal with China, the funds would not reach the Iranian people, but would rather, as repeatedly proven before, line the pockets of corrupt politicians and fund the malign regional activities of the IRGC.
The inability of the Islamic Republic’s leaders to secure the needs of the Iranian public is so profound that China’s presence cannot compensate for it.