China, Iran eye closer economic, military ties

Chinese investments in Iran could total US$400 billion over 25 years

Hassan Rouhani and Xi Jinping (Facebook, Hassan Rouhani photo)

Hassan Rouhani and Xi Jinping (Facebook, Hassan Rouhani photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China and Iran have been working on a possible cooperation deal as part of Beijing's Belt and Road Initiative that would see the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) invest hundreds of billions of dollars in Iran over the next 25 years.

The deal, outlined in an 18-page proposed agreement, would greatly expand China's presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways, and dozens of other projects, according to the New York Times. In return, Beijing would receive access to deeply discounted Iranian oil for the next quarter-century.

The document also touches on increased military cooperation between Beijing and Tehran. It outlines joint training and exercises, research, weapons development, and intelligence sharing between the two countries.

China's Xi Jinping (習近平) first proposed the partnership during a visit to Iran in 2016, which was approved by President Hassan Rouhani's cabinet in June, according to Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, talking to the parliament on July 5, according to Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty.

Nearly 100 projects are cited in the draft agreement, including airports, high-speed rail, and subways, the Times said. It also includes plans for China to build 5G telecommunications infrastructure, to offer the Chinese Global Positioning System, Beidou, and to help Tehran exert greater control over cyberspace.