Assessing the geopolitical opportunities of the Iran-China Comprehensive Cooperation Program (25 years)

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Student in Political Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of Political Geography, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran

3 Shahid Beheshti University, Faculty of Economics and Political Science


Extended Abstract
China is arguably the biggest phenomenon of the 21st century. A country that has overcome the other countries of the world in the amount of production of various industrial products, in the evolution of its territorial development, in the construction of infrastructures and super-projects in speed and breadth. China is now the first trading partner of more than 130 countries. In the Middle East, although some countries may be pro-Western and ally of the United States, they do have extensive trade with China. At present, the Middle East, and especially the Persian Gulf, is being considered by China and it is trying to enter this region in the form of a "belt and road initiative". Iran, as a strategic country in the Middle East, Asia and the world, is one of the most important geographical areas of interest to China.
After the Cold War, with the defeat of bipolar and ideological rivalries, economic relations developed. The end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century were the decades of the emergence of new economic powers in Asia. One of these powers was China, which achieved a major leap in its economy with extensive reforms since 1979 and the expansion of its relations with the West and the attraction of investment from developed countries. In the first two decades of the 21st century, no country has received as much attention from the world's superpower, the United States, as China; Because it has been the biggest challenge to American economic power. Therefore, China's containment policies have always been on the agenda of the United States and the West. To counter US-centered Western actions, China has taken extensive steps to partner with emerging economies such as the BRICS, the Eurasian Bank, and the Belt and Road Initiative, the latest of which is a global geo-economic mechanism. This super-project has annexes in the form of bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements, such as the comprehensive cooperation agreement (25 years) between Iran and China, which is considered in this article.
This research has been done by analytical-descriptive method. Documentary and library studies and searches in international scientific databases as well as reputable websites have been used to collect information. The research question is as follows: According to the document of the Comprehensive Cooperation Program (25 years) between Iran and China, what are the most important geopolitical opportunities for Iran in this document?
Results and Discussion
Taking advantage of the comparative advantages and bilateral Geo-economic capacities and creating economic and territorial ties between the two countries will lead to the development of interdependence, which will create a network of Geo-economic links and increase the interests of Iran and major Asian countries, especially China. It also reduces the effect of sanctions pressures and geopolitical isolation, which, of course, depends on strict adherence to the principles of negotiation, concessions, balancing between economic rivals and Iran's withdrawal from current pressures. Therefore, Geo-economic contexts such as the Belt and Road Initiative in the form of subcontracts such as the 25-year Iran-China Cooperation Agreement, create interdependence between Iran and China and other countries involved in this super project, which automatically has a geo-economic structure with a high level of complex interdependence. It creates governments and companies and institutions involved in it and increases the cost of sanctions and geo-economic isolation of Iran to Western competitors.
China, with its large and expanding economy, is the world's second largest economy after the United States, and given the significant growth of this emerging economic power, it is expected to become the number one economic power in the coming decades during the 25-year agreement with Iran. The world is transformed. Naturally, a relationship with a country with such an economic volume is important and has positive results. A comprehensive cooperation agreement with the economic power, which bears the title of the world's factory and has a strong level of technology and manpower, can lead to economic mobilization in Iran and strengthen energy and communication infrastructure and other clauses in the agreement. The geo-economic link between the two world and regional powers in the two dimensions of economy, technology, energy and access can lead to interdependence between the two countries, which will affect both Iran's economic development and its geopolitical consequences.
The 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement between Iran and China is aimed at developing China's "Belt and Road Initiative". The initiative of the belt and the road and the adaptation of its land and sea routes to Iran's Geo-economic position have made this country an important element in the overall plan of the project, which makes the Chinese project dependent on Iran. In the long run, this will create interdependence between Iran and China, which will have positive consequences for Iran, including Iran's exit from Geo-economic-geopolitical isolation and the reduction of the effects of Western sanctions in the long run. Iran's involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative and its implementation in the process of a 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement will complicate Iran's economy and geo-economy with China, as well as other countries in this major Eurasian project.
Taking all the circumstances into consideration, the current situation of economic pressure and sanctions and Geo-economic isolation of Iran, the implementation of agreements such as the 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement with China has a good perspective, which is based on mutual geo-economic and geopolitical realities. It also welcomed the Asian economic powers and placed Iran in a position above the chin and gain concessions to attract foreign capital and develop infrastructure and increase employment and national welfare and thus increase the geopolitical weight. But at the same time, with accurate calculation and monitoring of threats, emerging threats to the Geo-economic and geopolitical position of the country should be prevented.
Keywords: Iran, China, Geo economics, Interdependence Theory, Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.


Main Subjects

Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 11 September 2021
  • Receive Date: 10 August 2021
  • Revise Date: 08 September 2021
  • Accept Date: 11 September 2021
  • First Publish Date: 11 September 2021