A comprehensive and strategic partnership
“Comprehensive strategic partnership” is the focus and point of emphasis of the 25-year Iran-China document; this is exactly what foreign governments are concerned about. Countries in the international system base their foreign relations on six different and sometimes conflicting patterns, including 1- Confrontation; 2- Competition; 3- Cooperation; 4- Participation; 5- Coalition and 6- Alliance. In other words, country “A”, considering the regional and international position, as well as the capacities that “other countries” have in terms of access to favorable geo-economic, geopolitical and geostrategic conditions, defines dual relations with them based on one of the six patterns.
China is one of the few international powers that has been designing a pattern for its foreign relations since 1990, in the post-Cold War era. In this regard, in 1993, it signed its first strategic partnership plan with Brazil. China’s second partnership program, entitled “Strategic Partnership; Equality, Trust and Mutual Coordination in the 21st Century” was signed in 1996 with a number of other countries. Later, in 1997, it signed a constructive strategic partnership program with the United States. This trend continued, as such that from 1998 to 2019, when Beijing signed a partnership program with a total of 103 countries.
The Partnership Program is defined as an initiative and pattern in Chinese diplomacy and foreign policy, based on different levels of cooperation with target countries and their geopolitical and geo-economic status and value at six levels, respectively: 1- non-strategic participation; 2- strategic participation; 3- strategic cooperation partnership; 4- comprehensive strategic participation; 5- comprehensive strategic partnership cooperation; and 6- special strategic partnership. The fact that China has entered into a comprehensive strategic partnership program with Iran shows, from a specific perspective, that not only Iran but also China defines a “comprehensive strategic partnership” program (one step away from strategic alliance) with Iran and then development of bilateral cooperation in various dimensions is defined in this framework; this issue cannot send a good message to the United States, the Zionist regime, Europe and the countries opposed to the Islamic Republic of Iran, which have always sought to isolate Iran politically and economically in the world. Therefore, at first glance, the 25-year document can serve as an antithesis and a deterrent to the advancement of the US and European plans to isolate Iran in the international system.
Maximum provider of national interests
Since the Islamic Republic of Iran has a special sensitivity towards its independence and national sovereignty, in drafting the 25-year document which is signed with China, the first principle that the Islamic Republic of Iran has considered in the document is “maximum security of national interests” without any damage to independence, national sovereignty and territorial integrity. In this regard, the 25-year document can be defined as a framework that, if implemented, will be able to “well serve” the national interests of Iran as an exceptional opportunity. It should be noted that national interests are essentially a category that is not met in the short term and is not achieved overnight. The provision of national interests as “maximum” and “optimal” takes place only when the plans are defined expertly and for a long term; what is seen in the 25-year document.
Strategic partnership with the world’s largest future economy
Examining the dimensions and achievements of the 25-year document should not depend on the current time and circumstances, but rather on China’s position in the next 25 years; according to some world renowned centers and economists, including the British Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and Helen Qiao, head of the Asia Economics in BofA, China by 2028, by doubling the size of its economy, will surpass the United States and become the world’s top economic power. This means that the Islamic Republic of Iran, which in the years after the revolution was deprived of having strong economic partners worldwide, has concluded a document that will make the world’s first economy one of Iran’s reliable and “strategic partners” in the coming years which is a unique opportunity for Iran; therefore while not all eggs should be put in China’s basket at the same time, neglecting the economic opportunities of the neighbors, China’s astonishing economic and political growth should not be overlooked.
One of the “reassuring” behaviors that the Chinese have for economic work in Iran and with Iran is that they do not put conditions; unlike European countries and the United States, which set regional, missile, nuclear, and human rights conditions for cooperation with Iran, an example of which we saw in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in which they made semi-economic cooperation with Iran conditional on granting nuclear concessions. In contrast, the Chinese have not made their cooperation in recent years and in the 25-year document conditional on other issues and have so far shown that they have no problem with Iran’s regional policy or missile defense capability and peaceful nuclear program, and that, like the Americans, they want to bar other countries from cooperating with Iran does not exist in the foreign policy of China.
Improving the level of bilateral relations in the economic, political, cultural and military-security fields is one of the important goals of the 25-year document. According to the document, the two countries, while formulating a roadmap for the “development of relations”, also plan to further “deepen these relations”. Although in the document, and according to the foreign minister, no figures have been included, if we accept some speculation about China’s 400 billion to 500 billion dollars investment in Iran’s economy, it is generally in Iran’s best interest rather than China, because the entry of this volume of investment into Iran, which leads to the establishment, equipment and modernization of industrial infrastructure and communication networks and investment in the field of oil and energy in the country, contrary to what Western media and political circles say intentionally, does not mean China’s domination over the fate of Iran. Rather, it means growth and development and improvement and promotion of economic indicators; therefore, if we look realistically at the 25-year document and the development and deepening of bilateral cooperation with China, interaction with a country that will become the number one economic power in the near future, a country that neither seeks to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran, nor to weaken Iran’s regional policies, neither has problem with Iran’s defense and deterrence capability in the field of missiles, nor does it follow the Western sanctions and colonial policies against Iran, is not only in accordance with Iran’s national interests, but also within the framework of foreign policy outlines and in line with the three principles of foreign policy, “dignity, wisdom and expediency”.