While US President Joe Biden seeks a way to restart talks with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, China moved up at the table Saturday, as the two nations signed a 25-year, $400 billion strategic cooperation agreement.
After struggling for years under the weight of crippling economic sanctions, Beijing is reportedly promising to infuse $400 billion into the economic, industrial, transportation, and agricultural sectors of Iran, in exchange for oil, according to The New York Times. The Times also reports that China and Iran will increase combined military training, research, and intelligence work.
China is Iran’s leading trading partner. It’s not clear whether current US sanctions will impede the deal announced over the weekend in a ceremony attended by Iran and China’s foreign ministers.
The 25-year agreement with a major world power is the first of its kind for Iran. The nation has not signed many lengthy deals, except for one with Russia.
The Biden administration has appeared to soften the US position with Iran, saying it doesn’t matter “who goes first” in returning to the nuclear deal President Donald Trump took the country out of in 2018.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed grave concerns over the possibility of the US entering the deal again. In recent months, some top Israeli officials have warned of possible pre-emptive military actions to take out Iran’s nuclear capabilities.
Since the start of the new year, tensions between Israel and Iran have been rising, as a “shadow war” plays out through recent mysterious attacks on vessels in the Mediterranean Sea and ramped up preparations being made for a possible future war on the border with Lebanon and Iran’s proxy forces, Hezbollah.