China has sought to take major advantage of the lifting of international sanctions against Iran, agreeing to trade deals with the Ayatollah’s Islamic Republic worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Chinese ruler Xi Jinping arrived in Tehran over the weekend to announce the signing of massive trade deals with Iran. The Chinese president met with both Hassan Rouhani, the country’s figurehead president, and Ayatollah Khamenei, Tehran’s self-declared Supreme Leader and unilateral dictator.
The two countries signed seventeen agreements which mostly focused on economic and technology cooperation, with the one exception being a nuclear energy deal.
Rouhani said he estimates trade deals with China will amount to $600 billion over the next ten years. In 2014, the two countries engaged in trade amounting to $52 billion dollars, according to estimates.
Iran will cooperate with China’s “One Belt, One Road,” project, an initiative led by Beijing which seeks to connect a rail network through much of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
On Saturday, Xi met with Khamenei. During their talk, the Iranian dictator declared he has “never trusted the West.” He told the Chinese president that he valued ties with “more independent countries” like his.
Xi then met with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani the next day.
“Today, we discussed strategic relations between the two countries, regulating and signing a comprehensive 25 year document and also upgrading bilateral ties in the coming 10 years. We decided to increase mutual trade up to $600 billion,” said Rouhani after the meeting.
The Chinese president’s trip to Iran was the first made by an individual holding his office in the past fourteen years.
“We decided to turn mutual relations into relations that would turn into strategic relations, and also issues that joined us,” Xi said of his Tehran endeavor. “A statement on both sides should also take this opportunity in order to further upgrade mutual exchanges at different levels and further boost the political trust between the two countries.”
The State Department responded to news of China and Iran deepening ties, hoping “China will join us and others in encouraging all parties to avoid actions that escalate sectarian tensions in the region.”
Iran continues to arm and finance terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East. The regime in Tehran has also dedicated significant resources towards assisting the Assad regime in Syria.
China and Russia consistently advocated for Iran during the P5+1 negotiations that would later lead to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which is otherwise known as the Iran nuclear deal.