Several clerics and politicians in Iran have criticized the aura of secrecy surrounding Tehran's long-term deals with Russia and China as colonial in nature.
As criticism of President Ebrahim Raisi's recent visit to Russia continues, critics say that Iran has become a "Colony for China and Russia.” Hardliner daily Kayhan, affiliated with the office of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has accused the critics of "Affiliation with the United States."
On Saturday, January 22, Ayatollah Seyyed Hossein Mousavi Tabrizi, Iran's first ever Judiciary Chief, said an interview with reformist daily Arman that "Russia is not trustworthy. The Islamic Republic has been forced to signing long-term agreements with China and Russia because of international isolation."
Mousavi Tabrizi reiterated that because of its enmity with other countries Tehran has been forced to enter into deals with the two countries, adding that if it gives up its hostile approach, then it will not need such contracts. Meanwhile, he called on the government to publish the text of these agreements.
In another development, responding to questions about why Iranians have been kept in the dark, a clerical member of the presidium of the Iranian parliament (Majles), Alireza Salimi and another prominent lawmaker Mojtaba Zolnouri said that the Iranian government is not interested in disclosing the details of these deals.
In the meantime, Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in an interview with a Turkish TV network that secret agreements do not serve the nation's interest, adding that these deals will not be valid if they are not put to vote in the Iranian parliament.
In yet another example of opposition to secret deals, Mohammad Zare-Foumani, a young cleric who is the managing editor of proreform newspaper Sedaye Eslahat (Voice of Reforms), said at a gathering of Iranian political parties on Thursday: "Iran has become a colony of China and Russia, the two countries that have destroyed Iran's economy." Founmani also called for the publication of the full text of the long-term contracts with China and Russia.
The document with China was signed last March by the foreign ministers of Iran and China but its contents remain confidential. Ali Rabiei, the spokesman for the Rouhani administration had said in late March 2021 that the Iranian government has no problem with disclosing the details of its contracts, "but the Chines have a different view about this."
On Friday, Yaqub Rezazadeh, a member of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said that the reason for keeping the deals secret is that Iran does not want Western countries to find out about the details and use them to obstruct Iran's progress.
The Kayhan newspaper has said that the critics are individuals who dream about a secular pro-Western government in Iran, adding that the United States is counting on these individuals.
Last week, during a visit to China, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the implementation of the 25-year contract with China has started. China acknowledged this one day later.
IRGC-linked news agency IRGC-affiliated Tasnim harshly criticized Amir-Abdollahian's statement about Iran's decision to have balanced ties with East and West and ruled out anything other than reliance on China and Russia. On Friday, some prayer Imams, particularly in Isfahan and Rasht, praised Russia and China in such an exaggerated way that according to Asr Iran website, "even China and Russia have never claimed to be that good!"