In its desperate bid to circumvent crushing U.S. sanctions, Iran’s rogue terrorist regime is considering becoming a vassal state of China. In doing so, Iran would receive much-needed cash and investments for its ailing economy – and to support its terror network and security forces.
However, it will come at the cost of its independence – with China gaining major influence over Iran. In return, China will gain a much-desired strategic beachhead in the Persian Gulf.
While initially focused on industry, technology and oil, Iran just announced that the proposed 25-year, $400 billion “China-Iran Strategic Partnership” deal will include significant military aspects. According to the New York Times, the deal “calls for joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing…”
It may also include Russia. While much the deal remains secret, this new development could also see a Chinese naval base in the Gulf and change the entire balance of power in the Middle East.
Iranian sources reportedly told OilPrice.com last week that:
the Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] agreed to the extension of the existing deal to include new military elements that were proposed by the same senior figures in the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] and the intelligence services that proposed the original deal, and this will involve complete aerial and naval military co-operation between Iran and China, with Russia also taking a key role.”
According to OilPrice.com, “There is a meeting scheduled in the second week of August between the same Iranian group, and their Chinese and Russian counterparts, that will agree the remaining details but, provided that goes as planned, then as of 9 November, Sino-Russian bombers, fighters, and transport planes will have unrestricted access to Iranian air bases.”
To make matters worse, Iran expert, Michael Rubin at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), writes that as part of this deal China may be seeking a more permanent military base in the Persian Gulf. “Within the Iranian parliament, rumors now abound that one of these agreements include the lease of facilities on Kish island,” explains Rubin.
He added Kish is where the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps loaded 50 tons of weaponry on a ship to smuggle to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
As Rubin reminds us, China’s Supreme Leader Xi Jinping may have ambitions to challenge the United States beyond the South China Sea and impose its military influence over yet another strategic chokepoint – the Persian Gulf. China has already established a military base on the Horn of Africa in Djibouti within miles of the U.S. presence, and interfered with U.S. pilots in the region.
Adding a base on Kish Island would add significant capability to future Chinese forces in the region.
The secrecy surrounding the deal has apparently raised concerns within some in the Iranian leadership, though probably not enough to scuttle the deal. Western intelligence services – and Israel – should be closely monitoring these Chinese and Russian moves in Iran.
The U.S. should also be developing contingency plans and responses. This secret new deal could shake the foundations of the regional order.