Iran’s ‘New’ Partnership With China Is Just Business as Usual

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, at a signing ceremony in Tehran, March 27, 2021 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, right, and his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, at a signing ceremony in Tehran, March 27, 2021 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).

The recently finalized 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement between Iran and China has been referred to in the media as a “game-changer,” a “breakthrough” and a “major geopolitical shift,” but in reality, it is much ado about nothing. Signed with great fanfare on March 27, during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Tehran, the deal does provide Iran with a political and rhetorical win in the context of its ongoing negotiations over the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal. Beyond the optics of the agreement with China, though, the substance follows the same playbook that Beijing and Tehran have developed […]

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