Elimination of Chinaphobia; necessary to Develop Cooperation with China

2021/03/27 | Economy, Note, top news

Strategic Council Online - Publication of a draft of the 25-year Iran-China agreement was one of the most important issues last year, which attracted great attention both in domestic and foreign circles. The realization of what is stated in the draft of this agreement can have very positive consequences, at least in the field of economy, not only for Iran but also for China. Mohammad Javad Ghahremani – expert on international relations

Important factors such as Iran’s geographical location, which could help China advance the “Belt and Road” initiative in a faster and less costly way, energy resources, given Beijing’s growing energy needs as such that according to forecasts will are projected that by 2030 about 70 percent of China’s energy will be supplied from the Middle East region, Iran’s potential market and, most importantly, the overall alignment of Iran-China foreign policy will make the development of cooperation between the two countries a matter of expectation. Looking back, we can see that common needs have been the driving force behind the preservation and continuation of Beijing-Tehran relations.

However, since the agreement was drafted, issues among domestic and foreign analysts have shown that negative views and incitement of Chinaphobia in Iran are also growing rapidly. Of course, it is noteworthy that this issue is currently increasing in some countries with which China has been able to expand its relations. Examples of this can be seen among the Central Asian countries.

In the meantime, there is no doubt that, influenced by the rivalry between China and the United States, Washington officials and, of course, the anti-Chinese media have played a major role in propagating and spreading Chinaphobia around the world. For example, the introduction of concepts such as the creation of a “debt trap” is one of the measures taken to create this fear among the countries targeted by the “Belt and Road” initiative, according to which any economic cooperation with China will lead to political ransom.

Following the publication of the draft of the 25-year agreement, issues such as the lease of Kish Island to China, or the possible future military presence of Beijing in Iran in the atmosphere of the public opinion showed the peak of the public skepticism about China. Perhaps the latest example of this public skepticism was about the digital currency extraction that many people blamed the Chinese for the power cut in the country. Although the role of anti-Chinese propaganda in shaping pessimism cannot be denied, China’s past measures have played a decisive role in this way of thinking and pessimism. It is generally accepted among Iranians that at the height of the pressure, Beijing did not take the necessary steps to reduce economic pressure on the people, despite its eastward-looking foreign policy. For example, the maintenance of 22 billion dollars of the Iranian oil money during the previous sanctions period under Barack Obama and 20 billion dollars in China under the current situation has led to the widespread perception in the Iranian public opinion that China cannot be counted on.

According to the author, the most important measure that China should take is to reduce the spread of Chinaphobia and public pessimism about itself by taking positive measures. Naturally, the mind of every Iranian citizen in dealing with Beijing is faced with the question of whether China is also serious about expanding cooperation with Iran. Why has all this talk about working with a friendly country and working with China in practice not affected their lives? If Beijing wants to expand its relations with Iran, Chinese officials must be sensitive to the issue of Iranians’ historical pessimism about foreign governments. This historical pessimism has played a major role in distancing itself from the United States under the current situation.

Accordingly, under the current situation, Beijing can take measures to prevent the intensification of negative mentality. Because in case of delay, this can become an important factor in preventing economic cooperation between the two countries, even with the will and f the decision-makers of both sides.

In the event of the coronavirus outbreak, joint cooperation in the development of vaccines or cooperation for the widespread import of Chinese vaccines, release of the Iranian financial resources, investment in Iranian infrastructure as such that people can feel its effects in their lives, facilitating the possibility of large and small businesses, etc. to some extent, it can eliminate this shortcoming. However, it is clear to all that there are serious restrictions on the advancement of many of the clauses contained in Iran’s 25-year contract. Chinese companies face possible US punishment and sanctions if they cooperate with Iran, including banking restrictions, Beijing’s Middle East policy of equal distancing and proximity to all parties are among such limitations.

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