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China-Iran Strategic Agreement & its impact on the Changing Geopolitical Alliances

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A few days ago today, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif indicated that a 25-year partnership agreement with China had been finalized. Coincidentally, eighteen pages of the final copy of the agreement were immediately released to the media. If these pages are real, then this is the same agreement that has been echoed throughout the year.

On September 3 last year, an article by Pakistani diplomat Munir Akram was published in the Dawn newspaper. The article cites a report by Petroleum Economist, a leading monthly magazine on the energy sector, that China will invest about $410 billion in Iran’s oil and gas, transport, communications, and construction sectors. In return for this investment, the first priority will be given to Chinese companies in all the major tenders that Iran will issue for the next quarter of a century.

Iran will sell oil and gas to China at a discount of at least 12% during this period, and in this sale too, China’s needs will take precedence over the needs of other customers. About 5,000 Chinese security personnel will also be deployed in Iran to protect Chinese experts and workers and projects under construction.

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According to the report, although Iran has the capacity to produce four to five million barrels of oil per day, due to the current US sanctions, this production is limited to only 200,000 barrels per day. China’s energy needs are such that only Russia and Iran can meet all of its needs. In that case, China would no longer have to buy oil and gas from the Gulf states, including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Russia and Iran are suppliers who will not succumb to US pressure in the ongoing cold war between the US and China, which means, it will be a victory for each side.

Russia and Iran will have a permanent and strong customer base and China will have two permanent and reliable suppliers. Iranian ports will become part of China’s road and rail project. The high-speed rail link will connect China to Europe via Central Asia, Iran, and Turkey. If the China-Turkmenistan gas pipeline is extended to Iran, at least the energy supply to China will be protected from potential threats to the sea route from the Strait of Hormuz to the South China Sea.

Thus, with an alternative land supply route, China will be able to withstand the pressure of the United States from the South China Sea to the Arabian Sea. Iran will be able to develop its nuclear resources under the umbrella provided by China. And it will be able to protect its regional interests to a certain extent in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, etc.

ALSO READ: New War Fronts Lie in Economic Zones (Various Worldwide Conflicts Explained)

Unlike the United States, China is a superpower with close economic ties to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Iran. So next time, if there is a possibility of a rift between the three Middle Eastern powers, China will be on par with US influence in regional mediation and bargaining.

One of the advantages of this would be that Iran would have to formulate its policies in the Middle East in the interests of China. Thus, the element of extremism in regional policy would be relatively less.

This was the analysis that was published in the Petroleum Economist earlier in the year and now there is no fundamental difference between the outline of the proposed strategic agreement and the details revealed earlier in the year. Only additional information is available that China and Iran will also cooperate closely in the field of defense production and intelligence.

On July 6, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif hinted at a long-term Sino-Iranian agreement, and a week later it was reported that Iran had separated India from the Chabahar port and the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project.

ALSO READ: Boycott Chinese Products Campaign in India – Who Will Suffer the Most?

The purpose of the railway line was to build an alternative trade route after Pakistan refused to open the Wagah-Torkham corridor for Indian goods so that it could reach Afghanistan and Central Asian countries without any hindrance. India had been interested in developing Chabahar since 2006, but due to the nuclear dispute, international sanctions on Iran had tied India’s hands. In 2015, when international sanctions were gradually lifted following an agreement between Europe, the United States, and Iran, India expressed interest in rapidly implementing the plan.

In May 2016, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed a tripartite agreement under which India agreed to pay $500 million for the reconstruction of the first phase of the Shahid Beheshti port in Chabahar. India also promised to invest more than $1.5 billion on the 628 km Chabahar-Zahedan-Zaranj railway line.

ALSO READ: China vs Pakistan – Difference of National Attitude amid COVID-19

Since Chabahar is 90 km from Gwadar, India’s presence here meant that China and India would face each other on another front. Although Iran also gave India operational control of Chabahar, by the time Indian companies issued tenders for heavy machinery for the construction of Chabahar docks, President Trump had announced his withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal and also hinted for imposing economic sanctions on Iran.

Thus, despite three tenders being issued, no international company except one Chinese company participated in the bidding. Every company and bank was reluctant to be a part of the project because of possible American outrage. However, the Trump administration had promised to exempt the Chabahar and the railway line project from US sanctions. But everyone knew that Trump is unpredictable so no one was willing to take the risk.

ALSO READ: The Reality of ‘Shining India’ & Genocide of Muslims

India was the third-largest buyer of Iranian oil. But when the time came for a choice between Iran and the United States, India, in line with US sanctions, completely stopped buying oil from Iran last year. Against this backdrop, Iranian Communications Minister Mohammad Eslami announced last week that he had inaugurated the construction of the railway line and that Iran would now invest  $400 million in the project from its own national fund.

The strategic agreement between China and Iran and then India’s separation from Iranian plans and the extreme tension in Sino-Indian border relations and the open trade war between India’s friend America and China. In other words, the map of the global geographical alliance is changing rapidly. The United States is in a hurry to withdraw from Afghanistan. The Taliban enjoys the support of Russia and Iran and Chinese goodwill and geographical proximity to Pakistan. The Sino-Iranian strategic agreement also means a possible improvement in Pak-Iran cold relations.

ALSO READ: The Global Oil Controversy: Facts and Background

Now imagine the new chessboard, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan on one side and the United States and India on the other. And Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, and Burma are neutral spectators.

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Huge Blast In Beirut Killed 10 People and Injured Hundreds [Watch Live Video] (Updates)

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UPDATE (Wednesday): 

A bomb blast near the Lebanese capital, Beirut, has killed at least 78 people and injured more than 4,000. The Red Cross fears the death toll could rise sharply.

According to the international news agency, Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan said that a great tragedy has taken place in Beirut. The death toll could rise many times over. At present, all the hospitals in the city are full of injured.

According to the local news agency, the blast took place in a warehouse where the confiscated explosives were kept. Lebanon’s interior minister says a preliminary investigation has revealed that the warehouse contained sodium nitrate seized from a ship a year ago and was to be disposed of. The blast was heard several kilometers away, and buildings shook in the distance.

Tuesday:

A blast near the Lebanese capital, Beirut, has killed at least 10 people and injured hundreds, while hundreds of buildings and vehicles have been destroyed.

According to the International News Agency, a horrific explosion took place in the port area of ​​Beirut around 6 pm local time on Tuesday, as a result of which the surrounding areas shook and buildings and vehicles in different parts of the city were destroyed. According to the British News Agency, the destroyed buildings include the house of former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

According to the local news agency, the blast was caused by a fire in the warehouse of firecrackers, however, this claim has been denied at the official level. The blast was heard several kilometers away, and buildings shook in the distance. However, no details have been released about the cause and severity of the blast at the official level.

Earlier, Lebanese Health Minister Hamad Hassan confirmed that hundreds of people had been injured in the blast. In addition, photos and videos taken from nearby buildings at the site of the blast show the devastation caused by the magnitude of the blast and the smoke billowing into the surroundings.

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TikTok has been Given a Deadline to Reach an Agreement

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The importance of TikTok is growing worldwide, which is why the American IT company Microsoft is also preparing for an agreement with Tiktok management. But US President Donald Trump has announced on July 31 that the Chinese mobile app Tiktok will be shut down in the country. They have announced a ban on the app under an executive order within a week.

After which IT company Microsoft gave Tiktok management 45 days to negotiate the agreement. Prior to the deal, Microsoft had hinted that it wanted to buy the Tiktok app in the United States.

The US security agency suspects that China is spying on people with this app and get access to users’ data after they install it on mobile phones, which is a threat to national security.

TikTok’s proprietary company, ByteDance, has said it does not share US consumer data with the Chinese government, but that the data is stored in the United States and Singapore.

Microsoft says it believes in looking closely at national security issues and protecting US economic interests in the process of buying Tiktok.

ByteDance said in a statement that the company is exploring all possibilities to continue streaming in the United States. In a memo, the company’s chief executive officer in Beijing, Zhang Yiming, said his team is working 24 hours a day to make the best results possible.

In the memo, Zhang said the current geopolitics and public opinion climate is becoming more complex. We have always fully protected our customers’ data.

On the other hand, US officials say that such assurances are meaningless because companies in China have no choice but to obey the Communist Party of China.

Tiktok is used all over the world, including the United States, which has been downloaded by 2 billion people, according to the statistics released so far, of which it has been downloaded more than 160 million times in the United States.

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CPEC & Chabahar Paving the Way for China’s Supremacy in the Region

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The Cold War between the United States and China is still going on and it will go on for a long time until one wins. This war is to gain a hegemonic role in the region as well as in economic superiority. China is rapidly becoming an economic challenge to the United States, and its extraordinary growth has forced the United States to impose economic sanctions on China.

This annoyance of the United States is also an announcement of its undeclared defeat. In such a situation, it was inevitable for China to retaliate, which it did. The US president then made derogatory remarks against China itself. In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a “shut-up call” to the United States. The United States has banned Chinese technology company Huawei. It made it almost impossible for China to access 5G technology, but the frustration of the US increased when China made it clear to them that it had completed work on 5G technology with its own resources, and the shock of the ban on Huawei could easily be endured. Huawei has also begun to gain a foothold in Asian markets outside of US markets by improving its technology, while a report suggests that Huawei could also benefit from European markets.

ALSO READ: Global Power Dynamics and Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

According to US experts, Trump’s poor policies have widened the gap between China and the United States, which does not appear to be closing in the near future. According to them, the United States should have given China a tough time, to improve its trade, to go to more markets, to improve the situation in Africa, and convert it into a market as well. But imposing sanctions in this way will send a message to the world about the weakness of the United States system.

A large segment of the world still believes that the Coronavirus is a product of the US-China war, which is taking its toll on the world. It can be true but what is reality? Its secret will be revealed only after many years. At the moment, the situation is such that China has become a challenge for the United States in the region. The US thought that if it supports India both economically and militarily, it would give China a tough time. But here American research and calculations proved wrong. India could not give China a tough time in any field despite the support of the United States, on the contrary, it began to be alone in the region. A recent example of this is the major developments in Iran, where Iran has sidelined India and started making trade agreements with China.

ALSO READ: China-Iran Strategic Agreement & its impact on the Changing Geopolitical Alliances

According to a recent agreement, China will invest $400 billion in Iran over the next 25 years. Estimate how big this amount is when in 2018, our government needed only $6 billion to avoid default and run the country. The volume of CPEC of Pakistan and China is currently about $65 billion. Chabahar is almost 80 km from Gwadar. It is also a deep water port. Shortly after Pakistan and China launched CPEC, India announced work with Iran on the Chabahar port. India’s real intention was to sit here and promote proxy war in Pakistan and destabilize Pakistan. An example of this is the arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav and his revelations.

Iran was also in the anti-Pakistan camp because of India and its territory was also used against Pakistan. India’s sole purpose in this whole scenario was to use Chabahar to harm Pakistan and CPEC. While this situation was unacceptable for Pakistan, it was also unacceptable for China and that is why after a few years of hard work and backdoor diplomacy, Iran has now shaken hands with China and on the other hand, it has sidelined India from Chabahar projects.

ALSO READ: The Reality of ‘Shining India’ & Genocide of Muslims

According to Iran, India’s plan was to increase tensions for Pakistan from Chabahar. India was only talking verbally while Iran was spending money. Investment is a difficult task for Iran, which is mired in global sanctions. Therefore, keeping in view the situation, Iran has sidelined India and preferred friendship with China. Due to this situation, the Modi government in India is also being severely criticized that India has spoiled relations with its neighbors at the behest of America, while America has a history of not being anyone’s friend and it uses countries for its own purposes regardless of color, race, religion.

Recently, Iran’s ambassador to Pakistan has sharply criticized India without naming it. He said that when a country is reluctant to maintain relations with Iran and needs the permission of other countries for its normal relations, it is clear that it is not capable of long-term planning and implementation. He made the statement in view of the lack of seriousness of India’s Chahbahar to Zahedan rail project, in which India has been making statements, but in practice, it has done nothing.

ALSO READ: China’s Economic Revolution & World Power Politics

It is also clear that a new alliance is being formed in the region comprising China, Turkey, and Russia, which will include key countries in the region, including Malaysia. Pakistan is naturally present in this alliance because of Turkey and China and now Iran’s participation will further strengthen this alliance. However, due to US conspiracies, relations between Pakistan and Iran have not been good for a long time. Pakistan and Iran have been in separate camps since the Soviet war. Pakistan’s relations with Arab countries have also played a role in spoiling relations with its neighbors and on the other hand, the proxy war has left no stone unturned. The two countries have a long history of suffering, but now that China is investing heavily in Pakistan and Iran, so it is time for the two countries to mend their diplomatic and trade ties.

On the one hand, Pakistan can benefit from Chabahar, while Iran can also benefit from Gwadar and CPEC. India’s influence is also disappearing from Iran, so now Pakistan will also deal with Iran in different ways. As far as Saudi-Iranian relations are concerned, this ideological Cold War began after the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and will probably continue in the future. Therefore, the two countries must accept each other, respect each other’s religious views and, most importantly, get out of the abyss.

ALSO READ: How ‘Wuhan Model’ can help in Overcoming COVID-19 Devastation?

China is a strategic partner for Pakistan but on the other hand, it needs to be made with the United States as well. Iran is Pakistan’s neighbor and on the other hand, Pakistan has to maintain relations with Saudi Arabia. It is a double-edged sword in diplomacy that is extremely difficult to wield. But if Pakistan learns to wield this sword successfully and if we learn to balance relations, it will be a great achievement not only for Pakistan but for the region.

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