In China, Iran, Video

Image: FOSC

Published on Friends of Socialist China, Feb 23, 2023:

Ebrahim Raisi becoming the first Iranian head of state to visit China in two decades, at a time of significant regional and global changes, has naturally aroused considerable attention and comment. We reproduce below two discussions in which experts offer their analysis regarding the visit and its likely outcomes.

In an episode of CGTN’s World Insight, presenter Tian Wei is joined by Rong Ying, Vice-President of the China Institute of International Studies; Sadegh Zibakalam, Professor at Tehran University; and Abas Aslani, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Middle East Strategic Studies.

Aslani notes that Iran’s full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) sets the scene for a convergence among Asian powers facing US and western pressures. It is the first regional bloc that Iran has joined since the revolution. Professor Zibakalam notes that, within its region, Iran has troubled relations with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel. China, he says, can play an important role in bringing Iran, Saudi Arabia and the UAE closer together.

Rong Ying was optimistic that the two countries can find ways to cope with the sanctions imposed by the United States, for example by trading in their national currencies. Iran and China are both opposed to the sanctions, he points out. They are illegal and cause untold suffering to the people. However, they force countries to find ways to develop, which is not what the USA intends. He further notes that the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or the ‘Iran nuclear deal’) is endorsed by the UN Security Council and must be implemented. He regrets that the Biden administration has gone back on its word and has failed to rescind Donald Trump’s reneging on the agreement. Iran, he notes, has the right to peacefully develop and use nuclear energy.

The Chinese scholar also forcefully points out that both Iran and China are civilisational countries working together. The significance of this goes beyond the bilateral. Both countries oppose unilateralism, hegemony and bullying. And they treasure sovereignty, territorial integrity and the pride of being an independent nation.

Also, in an episode of Spotlight on Iran’s Press TV, Arnold August, a Montreal-based author and journalist, is joined by John Ross, Senior Fellow at the Chongyang Institute of Financial Studies.

Arnold explains that the strengthening of Iran/China relations is a fitting riposte to the racist denigration of Asian peoples and civilisations by the imperialist powers. He notes that the United States and major western powers simply cannot compete, despite their protestations to the contrary, with such Chinese-initiated projects as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which advance the struggle for a multipolar world. As an example of the increased confidence of the anti-hegemonic forces, he drew attention to the recent Global Times editorial, entitled: ‘Welcome President Raisi. China, Iran no need to watch attitude of US, West.’

John explains that the issue is not that other countries wish to confront the United States. It is that the United States acts against the interests of other countries. The US is suffering defeats in economic competition with China. It also expected Iran and Russia to collapse as a result of sanctions. This has not happened. And the overwhelming majority of the world does not go along with the western sanctions on Russia. However, the danger in this situation, John notes, is that the United States may resort to military means to pursue its objectives.

Both programmes are embedded below.
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