Mahmood Monshipouri and Javad Heiran-Nia
Dr. Monshipouri is professor and chair of international relations at San Francisco State University and lecturer in global studies/international and area studies at UC Berkeley. Dr. Heiran-Nia is the director of the Persian Gulf Group at the Scientific Research and Middle East Strategic Studies Center in Tehran, Iran.
This paper seeks to unpack China’s grand energy policy in the Middle East. It examines the pro-posed Iran-China deal, to which China’s great game in Iran presents new challenges. Beijing sees Iran as a key potential asset in Western Asia. Regional experts argue that, given Iran’s extensive natural resources and human capital, as well as a relatively untapped market, the country is seen by the Chinese ruling class as a potentially valuable ally. Uncertainty, pessimism, and a deeply rooted culture of resistance against foreign influence and intervention help explain why skepticism about this deal is so pervasive in Iran. A closer look at Iran’s history also illustrates that the coun-try’s interests would likely be more effectively served if it diversified its economic and political relations with both the West and the East, thus allowing the government to balance its relationship with those countries while retaining a degree of political independence.
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