Beijing Brings Bad Boy Buddy Into Budding ‘Belt’ Bromance
Iran and China over the weekend signed a mammoth 25-year economic agreement, which includes massive investments by Beijing in the Iranian energy, infrastructure and transportation sectors. “China seeks to comprehensively improve relations with Iran,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Zarif, on Saturday. “Our relations with Iran will not be affected by the current situation, but will be permanent and strategic,” he said. The multi-decade accord introduces the Islamic Republic into China’s world-encompassing Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure project stretching from East Asia to Europe and Africa. The deal, which significantly deepens Beijing’s political influence in the Middle East, comes amid continued back and forth between Washington and Tehran regarding a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement. While United States President Joe Biden has demanded Iran first comply with the deal’s limits on its nuclear program, Tehran has called for the White House to remove the sanctions reimposed by the former administration before any further steps are taken.