On Monday, Chinese despot Xi Jinping rang up his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani. During the phone call, the CCP general secretary extended China’s support for Iran’s “reasonable demands concerning the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA] on the Iranian nuclear issue”. Xi Jinping also pledged to strengthen coordination with Iran and safeguard the common interests of both sides. Effectively, China conveyed its unwavering support to Iran’s military nuclear programme. The development is being seen as a tactic to strongarm the United States into submission before Tehran’s preposterous demands.
A day later, on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken were seen addressing a joint press conference. Blinken, who was visiting the region in the aftermath of the Israel-Gaza war, was told in unequivocal terms by Netanyahu that the Biden administration should avoid re-joining the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu said, “I can tell you that I hope that the United States will not go back to the old JCPOA because we believe that that deal paves the way for Iran to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons with international legitimacy.”
On the US’ part, Antony Blinken said that Israel is being constantly consulted with regards to the nuclear deal negotiations with Iran. Tehran, however, has occupied itself in using its special relationship with China to strongarm, not just the United States, but also send across a message to Israel. The talks between Jinping and Rouhani come in the backdrop of China and Iran signing a $400 billion strategic cooperation agreement on March 27 for a period of 25 years as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
By now, it has come to be well known that China’s Middle East policy is a disaster. It is incoherent and fundamentally flawed. For instance, China is of the opinion that by supporting the Palestinian cause, it can earn favour and likability among the Arab nations. Simultaneously, it is also in bed with Iran and supports Tehran’s bid to have a nuclear deal which will only further the country’s goals of procuring a dirty bomb. And by supporting the Palestinian cause, that Beijing is putting its investments in and around Israel in jeopardy is a separate matter altogether.
Whether it be the Haifa Port, the Israeli port in Ashdod being built by Chinese companies, a light railways project running through the greater Tel Aviv area or a $1.5 billion water desalination plant in the Jewish nation, all Chinese projects in Israel now stare at the prospect of being cancelled by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But China, on a comparative basis, is hardly the loser in this scenario. Its partner – Iran faces the prospect of being snubbed by the United States, irrespective of the Biden administration, now more than ever. Israel has shown the incredible ability of even forcing the Biden administration to toe its line. Now that Iran has gone all out in its love for China, the Biden administration will realise that by reviving the nuclear deal with Tehran – the United States will not just be empowering Iran, but also propelling China’s ambitions in the region.
The Biden administration will therefore realise that gifting Tehran with a nuclear deal is perhaps not one of the wisest things to do presently. Unless of course, Joe Biden wants to ruin the US’ fortunes in the Middle East and give China a red-carpet welcome towards establishing its dominion over the world, the Iran Nuclear Deal being revived as of now seems an impossibility. Iran, on its part, has nobody but itself and its relationship with China to blame.