Zayed University Assistant Professor Johnathan Fulton is seemingly on a one-man mission to try and get everyone to calm down about news of a huge $400 billion, 25-year China-Iran oil-for-infrastructure deal.
The deal has sounded alarms in places like Washington, D.C. and Tel Aviv, but Fulton says those concerns are overblown and contends that this proposed deal, if real, isn’t really that much different from China’s other partnerships with Persian Gulf states.
Fulton shared some of his insights on the situation with Amitabh P. Revi, Associate Editor of the India-based StratNews Global.
Why Jonathan Fulton Doesn’t Think the Proposed China-Iran Deal is That Significant
- DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO THE HYPE: “I would caution everyone to take a deep breath. All we’re dealing with is leaks. This was first leaked last September with these breathless accounts of a $400 billion deal, thousands of Chinese going to Iran, China taking islands from Iran for forts… this is all really really implausible.” (1:23)
- IRAN IS NOT THE PRIORITY: “China’s interests [in the Mideast/Gulf regions] are more than just energy, it’s also about the BRI and that’s about inter-regional connectivity. So, countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia connect more broadly throughout the Middle East into key geostrategic countries like Egypt, increasingly Israel, whereas Iran remains an isolated revisionist country that links to non-state actors or countries of marginal power or interest. “So, again, take the broader perspective and consider what does working with those countries serve in terms of China’s interest versus what does Iran do and you’ll see there’s a big divergence.” (4:39)
- Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
- Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
- Connect with leading professionals on the China- Africa Experts Network.