Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 8, 2022

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman meets Chinese President Xi Jinping in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia December 8, 2022

Pundits In Iran Say China’s Support For UAE ‘Humiliating’

Monday, 12/12/2022

Criticisms continue in Iran over China’s endorsement of a territorial claim by the UAE, as a top politician Sunday called Beijing’s action “humiliating”.

The former chief of the Iranian parliament's foreign policy and national security committee Hesmatollah Falahatpished called Iran's subdued reaction to China's suggestion that Tehran should negotiate the ownership of three Persian Gulf islands with Abu Dhabi as humiliating.

Meanwhile, China's endorsement of the December 9 GCC statement appears to have torpedoed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's much-heralded policy pf “Looking East.”

In his interview with Didban Iran website, Falahatpisheh accused those in charge of Iran's foreign policy of having illusions about strategic ties with China. He was obliquely pointing at Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the architect of Iran's "Looking East" policy since 2018, that called for relying on China and Russia in defying the United States.

Earlier, Khamenei had called China "an independent and trustworthy" partner and had urged expanding Iran's ties with Beijing during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in January 2016.

Falahatp[isheh also recalled that that Russians have sacrificed Iranian forces in Syria by putting them in the frontline of the military campaign to keep Bashar Assad in power. He said: In a world where countries maintain relations based on mutual interests, we see that the number of Iran's enemies in the world are on the rise.

Former senior member of Iran's parliament, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh

The conservative politician said China's action has been a political shock because a partner signed on a statement undermining Iran's territorial integrity. Falahatpisheh suggested that Tehran should change its policy toward Beijing.

He also criticized Iranian officials for not officially summoning China's ambassador in Tehran. Foreign Ministry officials in Tehran said they had a "meeting" with Beijing's ambassador and told him that Iran is not pleased with what China did. This was so humiliating, Falahatpisheh said.

He reminded Iranian diplomats that China and Russia basically do not believe in strategic relations with a country like Iran, which is weak and isolated.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Rouydad24 website in Tehran, Mehdi Motaharnia, a lecturer on international relations, said Iran was counting on China, but China's behavior showed what matters for other countries is their national interest rather than fixated ideologies. He added: In politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies.

Motaharnia argued that China's behavior should not surprise anyone. What has surprised Iranians is that they were heavily under the influence of their government's propaganda about having a strategic alliance with China. But that propaganda based on wishful thinking was meant to strike a balance in foreign policy to fill the void after the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal.

While Iran continues its “permanent” confrontation with the United States, it wishes to pretend that it has big allies such as Russia and China that prevent its international isolation, Motaharnia said, adding that neither Russia nor China see Iran as a strategic partner. It is Iran that believes it can be a strategic market for those countries.

"This is wrong," said Motaharnia, adding that "It is Iran's wrong perception of international relations that agitates the public opinion in Iran. China is simply following its own interests in the region. So, it is looking for more stable countries to guarantee its profits. This is what pushes China toward Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia."

He added that "the tension resulting from the protests in Iran is also another factor that encourages China to reach out to Saudi Arabia, where it uses the term 'The Gulf' instead of Persian Gulf. Motaharnia charged that there is no realism in Iran's domestic and international policies and Tehran is paying the price for doing away with realism."

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