Chinese Minister of National Defense Wei Fenghe was recently welcomed by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, and reports quickly began to circulate about the growing strategic cooperation between the two countries. Raisi reportedly stated that "confronting unilateralism and creating stability and order is possible through cooperation of independent and like-minded powers." And Wei agreed, suggesting that a stronger China-Iran relationship would be a security asset for the two regimes.
American Family News spoke to Clare Lopez, the founder and president of Lopez Liberty LLC and a former career operations officer with the CIA. She recalls the 25-year strategic cooperation agreement between the two nations, which was signed in March 2021.
"The agreement would allow China to build out its Belt and Road Initiative infrastructure projects all the way west to the Persian Gulf through Iran," she explains. "[In return], Iran pledged to supply China with energy, [as] for whatever reason China doesn't have gas and oil in any appreciable amounts."
Chinese investments in Iran during the life of the agreement reportedly would total $400 billion.
Despite international sanctions by the United Nations and the United States, Lopez says Iranian oil has been flowing to China "in increasing quantities." And while some ships have been intercepted at sea, "the U.S. has not been especially diligent at [preventing the transport of oil to Iran to China] during the Biden administration," she adds.
Lopez isn't surprised. "The Biden administration is still intent upon [reviving] the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] – a.k.a., the Iran nuclear deal – and doesn't want to upset the [Iranian] mullahs," she argues.
According to the former CIA operations officer, this is particularly dangerous, considering Iran's push to achieve deliverable nuclear weapons. She contends China's technology has assisted Iran in past years, which has helped move its commercial and infrastructure relationship to a military one, as well.
America's leaders, Lopez warns, "should be watching with some concern where this relationship goes, given the malign intent of both regimes … towards the United States and the West."