Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced in early July that China and Iran were in the process of negotiating a 25-year strategic agreement, aiming to work together more closely in the coming decades.
The agreement is apparently close to being signed, with The New York Times reporting on it in detail after obtaining a Farsi version of the document.The deal foresees not only an economic partnership worth billions but also close military cooperation.
China sees Iran as a major market for its commodities — and as a source of oil. Iran, for its part, hopes Chinese investments and its own exports will lessen some of the economic pressure of ongoing US sanctions.
Tehran's move toward Beijing is partly a reaction to the Trump administration's withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement, said Hamidreza Azizi, a visiting fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. But the US isn't the only reason, he told DW: Tehran is also disappointed that the Europeans have not lived up to their economic commitments.
Iranian politicians have seen US power and international standing decline under President Donald Trump
Azizi said China and Russia were the only two countries that had maintained their economic ties with Iran, leading the Iranian government to see expanded ties with these two powers as the only viable option to save its economy from collapse. At the same time, he said, Iranian politicians increasingly had the impression that US power and international standing had begun to decline under President Donald Trump.
"As such, their understanding is that the best way to preserve Iran's interests in the long run is to define frameworks for long-term partnership with 'non-Western' powers," said Azizi.
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