Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi bump elbows during the signing ceremony of a 25-year cooperation agreement, in Tehran, Iran March 27, 2021.

Chinese Envoy Criticizes Media Coverage Of Economic Agreement With Iran

Friday, 03/08/2024

An Iranian MP revealed that the Chinese ambassador has voiced discontent over media portrayal of the confidential 25-year agreement between Beijing and Tehran.

Ahmad Amir-Abadi Farahani said “China wanted to keep the agreement confidential due to its substantial commercial ties with the US, which Beijing considers crucial.”

The revelation coincides with Iran's marginalization from China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other regional investments, primarily due to enduring US sanctions. Despite close political ties with China, Iran's participation in the BRI remains limited, sparking concerns about the future of their strategic partnership.

Launched in 2013 with investments totaling $1 trillion and spanning approximately 150 countries, the BRI aims to bolster regional integration, amplify trade, and foster economic growth. However, Iran has received scant investments compared to its counterparts, casting doubt on the sustainability of their alliance.

Chinese investments in Iran have been meager, with only two agreements signed between 2013 and 2023, one of which was annulled in 2018 after the US withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear accord. Projects like the South Pars gas field's phase 11 and the Gohardasht Steel project have encountered hurdles, with Chinese firms retracting or terminating their investments.

The comprehensive strategic partnership announced in 2016 saw the two countries plan to increase trade to $600 billion by 2026 while last year, according to the International Monetary Fund’s Direction of Trade Statistics dataset, the volume of trade reached just $12.5 billion. 

China remains Iran's largest trade partner, but Chinese companies have clinched substantial contracts with other regional players, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, amounting to billions of dollars.

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