Hossein Malaek

What is China's position in Iran's foreign relations?

Date of publication : November 21, 2017 22:25 pm
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (L) shakes hands with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi after a joint press conference in Beijing on December 5, 2016

Iran's foreign-policy relations, at least with China, are steered by three groups. The first group includes traders and merchants who seek to traditionally import goods at a reasonable “price” without the “appropriate” quality to Iran and take advantage of the economic conditions in Iran to their own benefit. Through friendship groups with different names, chambers of commerce with diverse headlines, and the establishment of different firms, this group has monopolized many ways of communication with China and is busy with gaining personal profits by finding similar opportunists in this country. Changes in the Communist Party, the first or the nineteenth congress of the Communist Party, China attack to Taiwan or the possible war between Iran and Saudi Arabia are in the second level of importance for this group. The major behavioral manifestation of this group can be traced back in the ninth and tenth governments of Iran when they imposed the worse financial, industrial, and commercial contracts on this poor nation to their own benefit and now are “modestly” doing their responsibilities in the relevant positions.
The second group consists of a number of strategists who are always in the dream of gaining global power and view the great powers, like China and Russia, as a tool that should honestly pave the way for them to achieve their goals without any expectation. They believe that China should be like a blank-signed cheque and dedicate its financial and political resources to Iran without any condition. Such an approach has made China treat Iran conservatively.
The third group, that proposes the antithesis of the second group, constantly emphasize the establishment of a balance between China, Europe, and the US, claiming that Iran will be probably swollen by China. This group also tries to impede the relationship of the second group with China by creating administrative barriers. This group does not care at all that dozens of small and large projects may stop; they only thing they care is that they should not be done by Chinese contractors.
Unfortunately, one of these groups is sucking the resources of this sick county like a leech and the two other groups prevent the doctor to reach the patient. This has led to the current circumstance that pleases nobody. However, there are many public and private speakers who have beautiful texts and words for society, but we really do not know what want from China and what the position of this country is in our foreign relations.
Such a foreign policy approach suggests to China and any other wise power to take control of policies in their relations with Iran and specify their position.
After their failed efforts to establish good relations with the eleventh government of Iran, it seems that the Chinese have come to the conclusion that visiting only superior Chinese official satisfies the Iranian side, the issues addressed at meetings are not important, and there is no will for the execution of them. For instance, although presidents of Iran and China and their foreign ministers have met serval times, executive projects and plans have still remained at the zero phases.
© Iranian Diplomacy

Hossein Malaek, a senior expert on East Asia, is the Iran’s former ambassador to China.

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