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.”
- The Diplomat: China-Iran Relations: The Myth of Massive Investment by William Figueroa
- International Institute for Strategic Studies: China–Iran deal: much ado about nothing? by Camille Lons
- The New York Times: China, With $400 Billion Iran Deal, Could Deepen Influence in Mideast by Farnaz Fassihi and Steven Lee Myers
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.
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