Future of Iran-China relations

By Mohsen Shariatinia and Ehasn Razani
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, October 23, 2015
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The implementation of the JCPOA and Iran's greater "freedom of actions" in foreign relations would also make the economic interactions between Tehran and Beijing more complex. Chinese companies, trying to fill the vacuum left by their Western counterparts, have gained growing influence in the Iranian markets during recent years. Needless to say the return of Western and other Asian enterprises could seriously challenge Chinese companies in Iran. The technological capabilities of Chinese companies would also be an important matter in this regard. For instance, while two of the leading Chinese automobile enterprises, Geely and Lifan, have constantly tried to conquer the Iranian market, it comes as no surprise that Geely would be in a better position to gain a more respectable market share in the post-sanction competitive arena.

Furthermore, the Iranian officials have always described China - as well as Russia - as Iran's "strategic partners" saying that "countries which cooperated with Iran under sanctions will be given priority in post-sanction era." In his September meeting with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that China was "Iran's friend in its difficult times." With this in mind, China would continue to be seen by the Iranian leaders as one of the most important partners in Iran's economic diplomacy and especially its post-sanction comprehensive infrastructural development plans.

Moreover, Iran and China have complementary economies. China is Iran's most important investor, its largest import and export market, the major buyer of the Iranian crude oil, as well as the biggest potential customer of its natural gas. These factors together could potentially strengthen the Sino-Iranian relationships over time. Generally speaking, lifting the sanctions, the Sino-Iranian complementary economies, and Tehran-Beijing summit diplomacy would provide important mechanisms to push forward relations between the two countries in future.

Mohsen Shariatinia is a research fellow of the Center for Strategic Research in Tehran, Iran.

Ehsan Razani is member of the School of Law and Politics, Islamic Azad University, Shahrood, Iran

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn


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