Supreme Leader Plays the China Card v. The West

January 24 – Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Iran’s Supreme Leader has used a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to proclaim that cooperation between the two countries can assure their supremacy over the “West”.Ayatollah Khamenei called for closer economic and security ties, following President Rouhani’s declaration of the goal of $600 billion trade over the next decade. “Iranians never trusted the West… That’s why Tehran seeks cooperation with more independent countries,” Khamenei said.

Khamenei pressed Iran’s approach to regional crises from Syria to Iraq to Yemen by saying that the US claim of its “anti-terror coalition” was deceit: “Such is the Americans’ approach to all issues and they are never honest in their conduct.”

The Supreme Leader said the Middle East’s security is due to the “wrong” policies of Western countries and “a deviant and erroneous” perception of Islam.


Rouhani and Xi declared a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” and signed 17 accords, including on cooperation in nuclear energy and a revival of the ancient Silk Road trade route, known in China as “One Belt, One Road”. Iranian media hailed possibilities such as the construction of a unified, high-speed rail line from western China to Tehran.

With the Islamic Republic hoping for a post-sanctions recovery in oil production and exports, the Supreme Leader paid particular attention to the sector: “Iran is the most reliable country in the region for energy since its energy policies will never be affected by foreigners.”

Iran’s oil exports have fallen 40% since 2012, largely because of US and European sanctions. However, China has remained Tehran’s largest customer. Beijing stepped up purchases by 28% in 2014, although the pace slowed last year with large Chinese stocks and Washington urging China to limit the rise.

Tehran is also hoping to increase its export of 17.56 million tons of non-oil goods, worth $5.33 billion, to China during the first eight months of 2015. Total Iranian-Chinese trade, about $52 billion in 2014, fell slightly last year.

Xi’s remarks on Saturday were measured, as he said, “The China-Iran friendship…has stood the test of the vicissitudes of the international landscape.”

However, the Chinese State-backed Global Times said that Beijing hopes to improve ties with Iran as part of its plan to rebuild trade links with Europe and Asia and carve out new markets for its goods. www.mesop.de