Why Should Iranians Be Worried About 25 Year Cooperation Agreement Between Iran And China Arrest Lakeland Man In Attempted Murder Case

Why Should Iranians Be Worried About 25-Year Cooperation Agreement Between Iran And China?

The 25-year cooperation agreement between Iran and China was signed on March 27, 2021. Some analysts say the agreement is leading Iran towards an Eastern geopolitical orientation, and it is a meaningful signal to the U.S for reviving the nuclear deal.

Although the Iranian officials claim that the deal considers the national interests, Iranian people are suspicious of this agreement due to the governments’ secrecy. The concerns over this agreement have led to tough reactions by many of the Iranian people and the opposition groups.

The former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned about a 25-year secret deal between Iran and a foreign country on June 28, 2020. He stated that” Any secret deal against national interests without considering the Iranians opinion is not credible, and the nation of Iran will not recognize it.”

After about a year, Iran and China signed the 25-year cooperation agreement, but its details have not been published publicly. The two sides insist no detailed contracts have been signed. Still, the deal has been touted as being worth $400bn planned based on the supply of Iranian oil, Iranian banking, telecommunications, ports, and other economic projects.

“The nation of Iran is a rare nation. You cannot find a nation in the world that all of its ideology would be based on neither the West nor the East. All countries around the world are formally a part of the West block or the East block; even non-aligned countries are not non-aligned,” said Sayyid Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

But some critics say Iran has reduced its independence since the revolution in 1979 gradually; therefore, Russia and China have become known as influential countries to Iran.

The critics stress that the 25-year cooperation agreement with China is a practice in line with Eastern-oriented policy.  But the time of the agreement could be significant; why Iran has signed the agreement at this time. Since coming into office, in November 2020, US President Joe Biden has not returned to the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) so far that the Trump administration withdrew from it.

Negotiations between Iran and E3 and indirect dialogue between Iran and the U.S have remained ineffective. But the Iranian government has been under crippling sanctions by the U.S, and many analysts say that Iran signed a long-term cooperation agreement with China to send a signal to the U.S and Europe. Furthermore, they add that Iran has taken itself in line with the East because the country cannot accept the conditions put forward by the US for a new deal.  Biden and his foreign policy team have frequently stated that Iran’s missile program and region activities must put on the agenda for a more comprehensive deal.

According to a report by the UK Parliament’s Foreign Committee on Iran, published on December 16, 2020, “disunity in addressing the nuclear issue, especially between the US and the E3, has not served UK’s interests. Instead, it has disincentivized Iranian engagement with the West and presented an opportunity for Russia and China to pursue their respective agendas in the Middle East. In the absence of decisive leadership and multilateral cooperation going forward, there is a risk that Iran will turn further to Russia and China for the economic relief they can each offer at a knock-down political price.”

Iranians have reacted to the secretly content of the agreement and lack of its transparency. Most reactions have taken place in cyberspace. Some hashtags have trended in Persian social media. “Iran is not for sale” and “get out China of Iran” are the viral hashtags in cyberspace against the agreement. Also, some scattered peaceful protests were held by Iranians inside and outside the country. Iranian prominent filmmakers such as Mohammad Rasoulof, Jafar Panahi, Kiumars Pourahmad, and Majid Barzegar have released a statement against the deal. They protested the agreement and asked for more transparency.

Another reason for distrust of the secret deal is the bad reputation of China in signing the deal with other countries. Generally, one of the principles of China over long-term deals with other countries has always been keeping details secret.

All countries that have received the loan from China, have guaranteed to remain silent on the points raised in these agreements. Some analysts say if owed countries cannot repay the loan on time, China could control their infrastructures and ports.

The deal between Sri Lanka and China is one of the reasons for distrust among the public. Sri Lanka signed the long-term $1.1 billion agreement to lease 70 percent of its southern Hambantota port to China to handle the commercial operations of the Chinese-built port on a 99-year lease. Many Sri Lankans criticized the deal.

For instance, Sri Lankan Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe Sacked over criticism of the Chinese port deal. “My conscious says that there is no other shame other than staying in a cabinet which sells national assets,” Rajapakshe said after the firing.  

The pessimism of Iranians to China in economic activity, especially in the sea, returns to clean out the Persian Gulf by China’s fishing trawlers.

Protests began to spread in recent years in Iran against the Fish trawling by Chinese vessels, and the public opinion pressure forced the Iranian officials to respond. According to Tasnim News Agency on August 18, 2019, the Deputy for Port Affairs of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran (PMOI), Mohammad Ali Hassanzadeh, revealed that Chinese ships were operating under a “long-term lease” for fishing at a depth of 200 meters (roughly 656 feet) in Iranian waters.

Another reason for distrust is the secrecy policy of Iranian authorities in other national important issues. Contradictory statements about the number of deaths during the COVID-19 are an example of distrust. Many analysts say that the pandemic’s death toll in Iran is three to four times higher than the official figure.

Also, when Iran shot down the Ukraine International Airlines 737-800, Iranian officials claimed that the technical problem is the cause of the plane crash. Consequently, many ordinary Iranians have a negative mentality about government transparency, and they suspect some officials’ statements.    

The absence of transparency for the agreement between China and Iran has given a golden opportunity to the opposition of the Islamic Republic of Iran to attack the regime. Exchange the oil with goods, selling oil at a lower price, and China’s control of ports are some of the claims that the opposition groups have stated about the deal. “According to the agreement, China will import 5000 super-soldiers to Iran, and we would see the attack of the Chinese red army on Iran. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is a traitor because he signed the agreement,” said Amir Fakhravar, an opposite activist of the regime on his YouTube channel.

But Zarif responded to opposition by using Clubhouse, an audio-based social media application. “This agreement is not a contract, does not create any obligation for either party. It has no number and does not cede any territory or even point to China.” He added, “I don’t believe in the [policy] of looking the East or the West,”

In conclusion, Iranians should be worried about the agreement because its details have not been published.

Iranians want to know the details of the agreement, and Iranian officials say under the press to disclose details that China was standing in the way of publication. Some critics say that the Government of Iran has prioritized China’s demand, and Iranian officials have ignored the demand of the people. Finally, a deal that has commenced with the lack of transparency and ignoring the demand of the people is doomed to failure.

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