Chang Hua, the Chinese Ambassador to Iran

Chinese Envoy Calls For Boosting Political Ties With Iran

Thursday, 03/14/2024

The Chinese Ambassador to Iran, Chang Hua, has called for closer relations with relevant political parties and organizations in Iran to enhance bilateral cooperation.

The statement followed his meeting with members of Iran’s Islamic Coalition Party in Tehran on Wednesday.

The Chinese envoy's assertion to bolster ties is a result of Iran's limited participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other regional investments, primarily due to enduring US sanctions. Despite close political relations, Iran's involvement in the BRI remains minimal, raising concerns about the depth of their strategic partnership.

Initiated in 2013 with investments totaling $1 trillion across approximately 150 countries, the BRI aims to enhance regional integration, trade expansion, and economic growth. However, Iran has received relatively few investments compared to other nations, casting doubts on the sustainability of their alliance.

Chinese investments in Iran have been modest, with only two agreements signed between 2013 and 2023. Challenges such as the US withdrawal from the JCPOA nuclear accord in 2018 have hindered projects like the South Pars gas field's phase 11 and the Gohardasht Steel project.

Now, the focus is turning towards the Islamic Coalition Party, a conservative political entity in Iran which advocates for economic liberalism and holds influence among older generations of conservatives, particularly among retailers and traditionalist clerics.

Among the Chinese leadership there is a perception that as the dominant ruling force within the Islamic Republic, the party is a critical gateway to economic development.

In addition to ongoing military ties, China is already making headway into Iran's construction market, perceived by the Iranian government as critical foreign investment for the country strangled by global sanctions.

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