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With China already having strong links to several countries in the Middle East, Iran has been highlighted as the next state to increase its ties with Beijing. Due to Mr Trump’s sanctions, the state’s oil production has been crippled forcing the state to look to China for crucial aid and support. In line with its Belt and Road plans, China has been discussing plans for a 25-year relationship and may well be given a share of the state’s oil industry.
Such is the potential for a partnership between the two states that US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, warned it could destabilise the Middle East.
An expert wrote in the Economist that any deal shows the “desperation” of the Islamic Republic.
They added: “Rather than a comprehensive road map, the proposal is more a sign of both Iran’s desperation and the limits of China’s ambition.
“China and Iran will probably conclude an agreement within months.
“For Iran, it will seem a vital lifeline—particularly if Mr Trump wins a second term.
“For China, though, Iran will remain just one piece on a much larger chessboard.”
Although US sanctions have so far failed to force Iran into agreeing on a new nuclear arms deal, they have slowed the state’s economy.
Last year, Iran’s economy shrank by 7.6 percent, while the year before it contracted by 5.4 percent.
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In a further move to cripple the Islamic Republic’s economy, the US Treasury announced it was blacklisting 18 of Iran’s major banks this week.
A statement from Washington declared it had discovered the financial sector in the country was linked to certain malign activities.
Following the announcement of the crippling sanctions, Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, will travel to China.
Mr Zarif allegedly accepted the invitation of his counterpart, Wang Yi.
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In light of the sanction on the state, Mr Zarif declared the US was intent on destroying the channels of aid to the Islamic Republic.
He said: “Amid Covid19 pandemic, US regime wants to blow up our remaining channels to pay for food & medicine.
“Iranians will survive this latest of cruelties.
“But conspiring to starve a population is a crime against humanity.
“Culprits & enablers—who block our money—will face justice.”
China has been supportive state for Iran amid its clashes with Washington.
Not only is China still a signatory of the 2015 nuclear deal which the US withdrew from, but it also vetoed Washington’s attempts to extend sanctions on Iran via the UN last month.
Despite being allies of the US, the UK, France and Germany chose not to vote on extending the current sanctions during a UN Security Council meeting.
Both China and Russia voted against the US, thus ending the chance of the sanctions being extended – although the US has not imposed unilateral sanctions.
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