Sign up for our free China-Africa Week in Review email newsletter
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Follow CAP on Social Media

Listen to the CAP Podcast

Why the New China-Iran Agreement Isn’t a Big Deal

Depending on who you speak with, the 25-year Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) agreement between China and Iran either marks the emergence of a new “axis of evil” that’s going to overturn the balance of power in the Middle East or it’s just a lot of vague promises that are largely aspirational with no firm commitments.

The truth is that no one outside of the participants themselves actually knows what it’s in the agreement because it hasn’t been made public and probably will never be published. Regardless of what’s in the deal, or not, it nonetheless symbolizes shifting geopolitical trends in the Persian Gulf that’s allowing China to take on a much more prominent role.

Bill Figueroa, a leading China-Iran scholar based in the United States, contends that of people, especially in Washington, are misreading the situation. He joins Eric & Cobus to explain why he thinks the CSP isn’t a big deal both “literally or figuratively.”

Show Notes:

About Bill Figueroa:

Bill Figueroa is a recently minted PhD from the History Department of the University of Pennsylvania, where he wrote his dissertation on 20th Sino-Iranian relations entitled “China and the Iranian Left: Transnational Networks of Social, Cultural, and Ideological Exchange, 1905-1979.” He has also written about modern Sino-Iranian relations and has had his commentary featured on websites like The Diplomat, Jadaliyya, Mondoweiss, BBC Persian, Entekhab, Le Monde, and Newsweek.

  • 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.

You've reached your free monthly article limit.

Subscribe today for unlimited access.

What is The China-Africa Project?


The CAP is passionately independent, non-partisan and does not advocate for any country, company or culture.


A carefully curated selection of the day’s most important China-Africa stories. Updated 24 hours a day by human editors. No bots, no algorithms.


Diverse, often unconventional insights from scholars, analysts, journalist and a variety of stakeholders in the China-Africa discourse.


A unique professional network of China-Africa scholars, analysts, journalists and other practioners from around the world.