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Iran ex-envoy calls for change of view regarding China

Tehran, IRNA – Mohammad-Hossein Malaek, former Iranian ambassador to Beijing, has warned that Iran’s viewpoint and policy towards China should not be based on exaggeration, but Tehran is expected to pay heed to the potential and capacity of the East Asian country.

The ex-envoy made the remarks reacting to recent stance taken by Chinese President Xi Jinping during his trip to Saudi Arabia on Iran’s nuclear program as well as three Iranian islands of Abu Mousa, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb, which was echoed in the joint final statement of the meeting between leaders from China and the Arab littoral states of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC).

Some analysts assessed the statement as a sign of the fact that China is distancing itself from Iran, but others saw such a stance as part of Chinese long-term strategy in the world, trying to have relationships with all countries based on their own interests.

–Shift of viewpoint to China

Malaek, who served as Iran’s ambassador from 1997 to 2001, is of the opinion that the Iranians’ policy toward China has been exaggerated, because we feel that they are in dire need of Iran, but this way of thinking is wrong and it should not appear in the Islamic Republic’s attitude, when it comes to the Iran-China 25-year cooperation program.

He underlined that China is an undeniable political and economic reality, which emerged over the last 30-40 years, and that ignoring or exaggerating the country would not be wise or in favor of the national interests.

China seems to be a supermarket, where everyone like Israel, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the US etc. can enter, he said, arguing that the Asian country is so big that we cannot see it dependent on us, and that Beijing has only one option and if it rejects, it will face difficulties; such an interpretation is incorrect that China is in dire need of Iran, but many Iranian politicians are of the wrong opinion.

–China’s strategy

In accordance with China’s new strategy, it formed a diverse basket of oil exporting countries; for instance, it imports 400k to one million barrels per day, he said, adding that China also purchases oil from Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Sudan, Oman, Russian and other countries.

China stood with Iran, Saudi Arabia and other nations as well, but some Iranians think the support for Iran is part of their strategy; thus, the point of view should be corrected.

However, the Chinese authorities do not want to dodge international sanctions; therefore, Iran was forced to afford big expenses to continue collaborations with China, he added.

–Four analyses of China’s recent act

The first analysis of the Chinese president’s weird behavior in Saudi Arabia is that China says it is a supplier who wants to sell to whomever purchases, the ex-ambassador argued, adding that only in the last five or six years, Beijing merged politics and trade in some areas such as Taiwan.

The second analysis can be that China tries to distance from Russia, because the Russian attack on Ukraine brought about huge losses for China and the Chinese officials have been under pressure over the suspicion that Moscow and Beijing want to distort the international system; so, China started an obvious attempt to detach itself from Russia over the last six or seven months.

The third possibility is that the Chinese try to adopt a similar stance toward different countries around the world, Malaek said, noting that China conducted an academic evaluation to know the Iranians’ viewpoint toward China and the result was not promising, showing that the country is not among the top priorities of the Iranian people. The Chinese officials think that the current domestic and international situation of Iran, especially in terms of sanctions, prompts them to accept Arab states’ conditions in order to have a bigger share of the global market.

The fourth analysis, which seems to be a kind of conspiracy theory, tells us that China and Russia, who want to challenge the existing international order, have decided to pursue a division of labor at international level; thus, Beijing focuses on the Persian Gulf to affect the US influence in the region and Russia follows up coordination and cooperation with Iran.

The former envoy concluded that China backed anti-Iran stance voiced by the Arab states of the Persian Gulf in order to bold Saudi Arabia’s role in the region and in other words, Beijing attempts to appease the Saudi kingdom in a bid to find a place in the United States’ sphere of influence, which is in line with Russia-China international division of labor.



Source: Islamic Republic News Agency – IRNA