New agreement would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in Iranian energy and other sectors.
Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors, The New York Times reported on Sunday.
The partnership, detailed in an 18-page proposed agreement obtained by the newspaper, would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects.
In exchange, China would receive a regular — and, according to an Iranian official and an oil trader, heavily discounted — supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years.
The document also describes deepening military cooperation, potentially giving China a foothold in a region that has been a strategic preoccupation of the United States for decades.
It calls for joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing — all to fight “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes”, according to The New York Times.
The partnership — first proposed by China’s leader, Xi Jinping, during a visit to Iran in 2016 — was approved by President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet in June, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said last week.
Iranian officials have publicly stated that there is a pending agreement with China, and one Iranian official, as well as several people who have discussed it with the Iranian government, confirmed that it is the document obtained by The Times, which is labeled “final version” and dated June 2020.
It has not yet been submitted to Iran’s Parliament for approval or made public, stoking suspicions in Iran about how much the government is preparing to give away to China.