Document Type : Original Article
Instructor of Chinese Language, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran
Assistant P rofessor of Political Sciencees, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
Sino Iranian relations are the product of competing incentives and interests which have evolved over time as policies and geostrategic orientation change. In the past decade, China has become Iran’s the main trading partner. Collaboration between Beijing and Tehran centers on China’s energy needs and Iran’s abundant resources and also includes significant non-energy economic ties, arms sales and defense cooperation, and geostrategic balancing against the United States. From this point of view, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which was unable to make institutionalized relations with the West, adopted a strategic and long-term approach towards Eastern actors such as China and Russia and planned to integrate agenda to propel the foreign policy in line with this objective. Iran also has tried to tie itself into surging flow of development and integrity in the East. This research attempts to answer this question that “What is Iran strategic capability for New Generation of Chinese Leaders in the China's Peaceful Rise era?” In response to this question, the research analyzes the Chinese strategic thinking, the sources to threat to international security and how to manage them as perceived by Chinese security elites and how it relates to Iran. Within this conceptual framework and as conclusion the paper argues that Chinese- Iranian relations are influenced by China's Peaceful Rise which limits its interactions with Iran to economic and energy sphere in a short and medium term.
Many of the studies in international relations are based on the effort to realize why and how some of the states unite with each other. Despite different studies in various paradigms in international relations, it seems that most of the international relations theories build a consensus on the matter that alliance is the reaction to domestic or foreign threats. Meanwhile Iran after the end of cold war demonstrates an inclination toward a new direction in foreign policy, which was dubbed as the "Look to the East" policy. With this in mind, it seemed the “Look to the East” policy can only serve Iran’s national interests, if it can remove any kind of dependence on the West and enforce a balanced foreign policy that could also widen Iran's foreign policy options. From this point of view, the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is unable to make institutionalized relations with the West, adopt a strategic and long-term approach towards Eastern actors such as China and Russia and plan to integrate agenda to propel the foreign policy in line with this objective. Iran also tries to tie itself into surging flow of development and integrity in the East. This article shows that, evolution of relations with China deal with challenges influenced by concurrent internal and external factors. It was also in this period when Iranian and Chinese leaders' attitudes to the behaviors of other side faced ups and downs and their interpretations and perceptions were also influenced by environmental variables; an issue which can affect the range of this relationship in the future. According this article, Sino Iranian relations are a product of competing incentives and interests which have evolved over time as policies and geostrategic orientation change. In the past decade, China became Iran’s the main trading partner.
The research is descriptive- analytic in terms of nature and method. Data gathering procedure is based on library and field finding. In library procedure, using existing references in libraries, formal and valid statistic information are considered. Data analysis will be done using qualitative and quantitative analysis methods, and conclusion will be done using the two methods.
Discussion and conclusion
Middle East is considered as one of the most important areas for China. From China’s point of view, maintaining and expanding friendly relations and cooperation with Iran has a great role for China’s regional and international interests. In addition, Chinese-Iranian relations are rooted in both countries' having historical narratives that characterize the international system as unjust and dominated by Western powers. Iran views China as a potential ally against the United States and Beijing views Iran as a potential partner for limiting U.S. influence in the Middle East. The foundations of the economic partnership between Iran and China are Iran's abundant energy resources and China's growing energy needs, but China is not overwhelmingly dependent on the Islamic Republic for its energy needs; in contrast, Iran now depends on China as its chief diplomatic protector. Despite their energy cooperation, trade, and shared geopolitical interests, Iran and China have potentially divergent interests on a number of strategic issues in the Middle East. On the other side, China’s rise onto the world stage as one of the two largest economic powers has become an undeniable fact.
The Chinese government is increasingly more confident about its foreign policy options, and it is keen to assert China’s positions via peaceful means. As indicated by its energy diplomacy towards Iran, Beijing has made various efforts to showcase their desire to be a responsible stakeholder that is able to peacefully emerge as a world power. Overall, China in its dealings with Iran, assuming the continuation of current trends, can follow the following scenarios. The first scenario refers to the fact that international system will remain under the control of the United States. According to this scenario, cooperation between Iran and China will remain limited and there is not a great chance for Iran to expand relations with China. The second scenario may be the creation of China's hegemony. According to this scenario, China could balance against Western powers such as Europe and the US. But from the other side a powerful China can interfere in the Persian Gulf region and shrinking the space for Iranian foreign policy and force Iran to accept some of Beijing's will. Overall, the article argues that although, china is not completely satisfied with the established rules but is also keen to play a greater role in the rule making process and from this point of view Iran is not a strategic capacity for china leaders.