Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

China and Iran

Posted by w_thames_the_d on March 29, 2011

From The Beijing Consensus- (Stefan Halper)

The all-important driver in this process? Business, plain and simple. In blocking international efforts to bring Tehran to account, Beijing profited from its commercial links with Iran, securing vital energy contracts. While European and American businesses removed their investments from Iran to satisfy the sanction policies of their governments, Chinese enterprise moved in to fill the gap.39 China is the single largest buyer of Iranian oil and gas. Between 2006 and 2007, Beijing signed contracts with Tehran that guarantee annual exports of ten million tons of natural gas to China over the next twenty-five years, plus guarantees of exploration and drilling rights in Iran for China’s state oil company, China National Petroleum Corporation. Chinese companies have, moreover, secured contracts for new highways in Iran alongside a billion-dollar subway system. Iran has also been a useful market for Chinese exports in arms and advanced technology, including antiship cruise missiles, antitank missiles, sophisticated naval mines, missile control and guidance systems, chemical-weapon precursors, and nuclear materials. These deals serve two functions: They help to keep the lights on and the factories running in China’s high-speed industrial revolution, and they also provide a useful check on Western influence in the Middle East.40

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