0431 GMT May 26, 2022
In March, 2021, Iran and China signed a 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and on Friday, during a visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian to China, the agreement became operational.
The beginning of the implementation of this document should be considered a serious step toward improving relations and securing the interests of the two countries. Basically, any bilateral or multilateral agreement is defensible if it serves national interests.
The 25-year cooperation document includes a wide range of cooperation in different political, economic and cultural fields, the realization of which will surely have many benefits for Iran.
Estimates at the level of experts and public opinion indicate that this agreement is a "win-win" deal with "full benefits" for both sides. It means that each side is satisfied with what they gain from this cooperation, and this is in contrast to the situation of “relative benefits,” in which the benefits to a country are more or less than the other.
With the implementation of this agreement, the two current problems facing Iran’s economy, namely old technology and lack of resources, can be solved over time.
The Chinese can invest in major projects in Iran and at the same time develop some of the necessary infrastructures. In addition to the long-term benefits in the field of economy, this cooperation in the short term can be a great window of opportunity for Tehran, which is under heavy sanctions.
Some are concerned about whether China will be able to meet its obligations under the 25-year cooperation document. Each country must have both the will and the ability to fulfill its obligations.
In terms of capability, China has made significant advances in technology and economy over the past two to three decades, and in fact China today is very different from 30 years ago. Therefore, it can be confidently said that Beijing has the ability to fulfill its obligations under the 25-year document.
Regarding the issue of whether China has the will to implement the agreement in a way that serves the interests of both countries, the future will determine. But the current situation suggests that conditions are prepared for the implementation of the document.
In addition to the economic sphere, which will benefit Iran, long-term political cooperation with China will have a significant impact on stabilizing Tehran’s regional and international position.
In fact, it is reasonable for countries to expand their relations in different areas, otherwise their initiatives to play a role in the international system and take advantage of its existing capacities will decrease. Given the fact that Iran’s relations with Western countries are at a standstill, cooperation with the East, in the form of a 25-year agreement with China, or a similar example with Russia and other countries, will certainly promote Iran’s initiative in international relations.
Therefore, we should welcome the implementation of the 25-year cooperation agreement with China and at the same time be careful not to fall into the trap of “Chinese debt diplomacy”.
*Nozar Shafiei is a professor of international relations.