Paragraph 2 of Article 6 of the said statement put emphasis on 25 years of cooperation. During that trip, it was expected to prepare the necessary plans for the signing of the 25-year document, but due to the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Iran-China strategic partnership plan was practically overshadowed. However, with the subsequent follow-up and continuation of the talks and exchange of the draft text between the two sides, the 25-year document was finally signed by the foreign ministers of the two countries in Tehran on March 27, 2020.
The “One Zone – One Way” initiative is the main platform shaping the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation document between Iran and China. China’s global strategy is illustrated within the framework of this initiative and is one of the manifestations of China’s emerging power that connects the three continents of Asia, Europe and Africa and more than 70 countries. The said initiative covers 65 percent of the world’s population, three-quarters of the world’s energy resources and more than 40 to 60 percent of the world’s economy, and covers about 39 percent of the world’s land area and 30 to 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. So far, 125 countries and 29 international organizations have signed 173 cooperation agreements with China in line with this plan. The countries involved in the project have so far invested 6 trillion dollars in it, creating 250,000 jobs for China.
Opponents and critics
The initial reaction of the United States and some European countries, as well as the Zionist regime and some Arab countries, to the signing of the 25-year document, which has emerged in the form of news, gossip and incitement of public opinion, shows their serious concern about the document.
- A) The US and some European countries
The United States is at the forefront of the countries opposing the 25-year document. Immediately after the signing of the 25-year document, the White House reacted at the highest level, and US President Joe Biden, in response to a reporter’s question who asked him how worried he was about Iran-China cooperation, he replied: We have been worried about it for a year.
Why the United States and some European countries, including France, Germany and Britain, oppose the 25-year Iran-China document should be examined and rooted out. It is natural that those countries, given their confrontational and destructive relations with Iran, have always sought to collapse Iran’s economy through the US “maximum pressure strategy”, especially in recent years, with a document that has formed a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” between Iran and the second world’s great economic power, expressing opposition and refraining from taking any action, whether at the media, psychological, political, or security levels, to prevent implementation of the document.
From this point of view, the 25-year document is, in the words of some American media, a “heavy blow” to the United States because it showed that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a powerful country that still has strong international friends willing to enter into a comprehensive strategic partnership. This means the failure of the US policies to isolate Iran in the world. At the same time, the 25-year document, if put on practical route, would intensify coordination and organization of international pressure against the destructive policies of the United States and neutralize the US veto right on the use of sanctions against Iran at the United Nations. As the American Newsweek acknowledged that the signing of the 25-year strategic partnership agreement between Iran and China is a manifestation of the activation of pragmatic capacities in the bilateral relations between Tehran and Beijing, which in its own way has practically disturbed the United States. Ilan Berman, senior vice president at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, in a note on the 25-year-old document said the 25-year strategic agreement clearly puts the Islamic Republic of Iran at the forefront of China’s regional mission, in a way that ultimately leads to the significant strengthening of Iran in the region.
- B) Zionist regime and some Arab countries
The negative and oppositional positions of the Zionist regime and some Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, with the 25-year document were kind of American opposition and are also natural. This agreement not only “strengthens the balance of regional powers” in Iran’s favor, but also benefits the Islamic Republic from economic, political, military, security and 25-year interests, leading to the prosperity of Iran’s economic indicators, which the Zionist regime and Saudi Arabia have always been trying to weaken.
But for Israel, the China-Iran document is a strategic turning point. The Israeli newspaper “Israel Hume” publishing a report in this regard, said the agreement has two immediate consequences from the Israeli point of view, the first of which has operational dimensions. First, Iran’s new alliance with China offers Tehran new options for developing nuclear power. Second, following China’s strategic agreement with Iran, Israel has no choice but to cancel the Haifa port development contract, along with several other infrastructure projects and scientific and technological cooperation deals with the country. The same Chinese companies that are supposed to build vital infrastructures, including railways, in Israel are now committed to building similar projects in Iran. The threat to Israel’s critical infrastructure is obvious in terms of security.
Manusheh Amir, editor-in-chief of “Radio Israel” has stressed that Israeli officials are studying the Iran-China cooperation document; Israel’s threat against Iran is removed with this economic, military and strategic agreement.
The fact that Dan Schoftan, an analyst and head of the international security program at the University of Haifa, describing the strategic document on Iran-China cooperation as an “existential threat” to Israel in a note in Israel Hume said it shows the Zionists’ deep concern over the document.
Although signing of the 25-year document was delayed by several years, it should nevertheless be considered auspicious as its advancement and realization could present important opportunities for Iran. It is no exaggeration to say that the signing of the 25-year agreement between Iran and China is an important “turning point” in the history of contemporary Iranian foreign relations. Because this is the first agreement after the revolution with a major international power that has the stipulation of “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” and practically brings the Islamic Republic of Iran into a win-win game. In other words, this is the first time that the Islamic Republic of Iran has signed a comprehensive document with a major world power that pursues overall dimensions of relations between the two countries in a long run horizon.
It should be noted that Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is a three-dimensional feature, the first dimension of which is that the relations between the two countries are “participatory” and not competitive. The second dimension is “strategic”, meaning that the two sides look at each other in a long-term and strategic way. The third dimension is “comprehensiveness”, that is to say, the view of the two countries on relations is not limited to one area and includes various existential dimensions (political, economic, military, academic, cultural, etc.).