(Persia Digest) – Former Iranian Ambassador to China believes: “A turnover of directors and change of regulations in Iran means that Beijing will not make long-term plans to work with Tehran. It is against this backdrop that large state-owned Chinese companies have left Iran during the sanctions period.”

Following the exit of large Chinese oil corporations from Iran after the reinstatement of sanctions, Kunlun Bank recently announced that it has stopped working with Iran due to US sanctions. In the meantime, “The look to the East” policy still has its supporters among Iranian ranks under the sanctions.

Former Iranian Ambassador to China, Javad Mansouri, told Persia Digest (PD) in an interview: “China will not miss its chances in its international relations. As such, it did not entirely severe ties with Iran under the previous sanctions. Existing difficulties between Iran and China reflecting on Iran, however, means that China is also unable to maintain a positive interaction with Iran under the circumstances and Iranian authorities must not have excessive expectations.”

Speaking about Iran’s problems in its interactions with China, Mansouri said: “The Chinese government has stated on numerous occasions that Iran does not balance its ties with the Orient and only turns that way when they have difficulties with the West. Despite repeated offers by China to expand relations, the Iranian side continues unilateral emphasis on its own opinions in the hope that the West will solve its problems.


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Other issues pertain to Iranian expectations of China resolving its problems suddenly and entirely; but, Beijing is not willing to risk its relations with other countries. Thus, oftentimes, it is the Iranians who have not established a logical collaboration with China.”

Former Iranian Ambassador to China also commented on the exit of Chinese corporations from the Iranian market after the reinstatement of sanctions, reminding: “All large corporations in China are state-owned. It is only natural that they should leave Iran on their government’s decision. If China decides to invest in Iran, the Iranian government must have a clear outlook of its long-term relations with this country; but, when regulations, directors and Iranian views are constantly changing, it is not possible to plan ahead.”

Mansouri continued: “In fact, Iran has no economic strategies with many countries. This creates an insecure void for foreign investment. A lack of strategy reflects on the country’s macro policies, not its governments.”

This ex-diplomat stressed that Iran's economic behavior is not lucid, reiterating: “Therefore, all international parties involved with Iran are faced with these fluctuations. Not only the Chinese, but the Russians, Indians, and Turks will also leave Iran. This is caused by the number of decision-making centres inside the country.”


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Mansouri stated that the Chinese are able to help Iran in all activities, adding: “For instance, if Iran asks them for the latest solar energy technologies, their experts will steal this from the US and UK at any cost and hand it over to Iran and receive their money. Therefore, it is possible to work with this country in any sector. But behaviors such as what came to pass in the Taleghan dam project prevents the Chinese from wanting to work with Iran. The dam was built by the Chinese from ground zero; but the inauguration board stated that it was constructed by Iranian experts. A complaint was lodged by the company president and the company had to spend the next two years trying to get paid for its invoice of USD 15MM.”

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