It is in China’s long-term interest to face US sanctions (Professor GWU)

TEHRAN – A professor at George Washington University says it is in China’s long-term interest to blunt US sanctions, which have become a weapon of its foreign policy.

Noting that “America’s sanctions policy has become a powerful weapon in its foreign policy arsenal,” Hossein Askari told The Tehran Times that “China, and indeed other American adversaries such as Russia, should try to blunt this almost unique policy ”.

Askari believes that if China fully embraces Iran, the United States will give more serious thought to imposing secondary sanctions on Chinese companies, entities and officials, as it would really hurt American consumers and businesses.

“(However) the sooner China does it, the better for China. An alliance with Iran gives China its best access to the Middle East (West Asia) and beyond, ”according to the international trade expert.

Here is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you see the fate of the Vienna talks in light of the Iranian-American escalation in Iraq and Syria and the rigor of the two countries in the negotiations?

A: I don’t think the escalation of hostilities in Iraq and Syria will have much impact on the outcome of the talks. Both sides realize that their suspicion and hostilities extend far beyond a few drone attacks or the retaliation that follows. It all depends on how much each party wants to make a deal. For Iran, it’s all about economic respite; an economic boost, even temporary. Iran has locked itself in the corner through years of mismanagement, rampant corruption and reluctance to launch a reform program that could pave the way for true economic resurgence and prosperity. And over time, the adoption of reforms and their success become increasingly difficult. So given the dire state of the economy, I guess Iran really wants a deal, even short term and temporary. Biden, meanwhile, wants a deal for his own very different reasons. The JCPOA was the signature achievement of Obama’s foreign policy, and in part of Biden’s as vice president. Biden wants to revive it and in the hope that it can lead to a wider range of cooperation, especially when it comes to Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and Syria. But it cannot be considered that he is giving too much to Iran, as that would erode its support for the US Congress when it comes to getting its national agenda passed into law.

“If Iran adopts rational, coherent and well-designed policies, even for 10 to 15 years, it could be on the right track to lasting prosperity. “

Q: How do you assess Raisi’s election? Do you foresee a fundamental change in Iran’s approach to the region and to the Western powers?

A: I don’t see much that will change. President Rouhani followed the advice of the Supreme Leader, as did President Raisi. Additionally, President Raisi has been a close disciple of the Supreme Leader, has a similar ideology, and is on the same page. The differences with the Western powers all lead to the United States. Will Raisi be different from Rouhani? Maybe on the edges but not in the heart. Raisi may use harsher language in his dealings with American and European allies, but no big change unless there is a drastic shift in US policy toward the Middle East region ( Where is).
As for relations with the countries of the region, things are more complicated. There are ethnic and sectarian differences and a long history of conflict and hostility. Iran cannot abandon its allies in the region and then find itself facing no allies and a more demanding United States At the same time, the rapprochement with the Arab countries will be dictated by their relations with the United States Frankly , Iran’s foreign policy, like it or not, is more stable than those of the United States. Just think of how Trump turned everything upside down. Trump or a Trump double could do the same.

Q: How can Iran capitalize on its ties with its neighbors to counter US sanctions?

A: Absolutely no viable option. All the countries in the Persian Gulf except Iraq will do nothing without the blessing of the United States. I would also add Jordan to the list of Persian Gulf countries to follow the American line. If the United States is to continue crushing Iran, it will all tow the American line. And the others ? Syria, Yemen and Lebanon are themselves in dire economic straits. There is little they can do to stimulate the Iranian economy. Pakistan and Afghanistan also present a number of problems. Pakistan is moving closer to the United States, is still heavily dependent on Saudi Arabia, and itself is not in a strong economic position. Afghanistan is in a terrible economic situation and risks entering a period of heightened internal conflicts, even a veritable civil war. It leaves Iraq. Iran needs to be cautious about Iraq. Iran should not overplay its hand. It should not be seen as interference in the internal affairs of Iraq. If Iran can do it, then I think there could be solid economic and political benefits for Iran as a result. In oil policy. In trade with the rest of the world. As a leverage effect against the United States and Europeans. Iran needs a seasoned economist and an Arab hand to coordinate Iran’s relations with Iraq. This must go well beyond the security and military alliances currently in place.

“Iran needs sanctions relief, but this must be accompanied by sound economic policies that are maintained from one Iranian presidency to the next.”

Q: How do you see the 25-year Iran-China partnership? Can this be a game-changer?

A: Iran had no choice but to sign with China. China is the equal of the United States. It can provide Iran with most of Iran’s needs – investment, free trade, and access to the international payments system – if China is willing to fully embrace Iran. If China does this, I think the United States will give long and serious thought to imposing secondary sanctions on Chinese companies, entities, and officials, as it would really hurt American consumers and businesses. I think it would be in China’s long-term political and economic interest to do the same. The US sanctions policy has become a powerful weapon in its foreign policy arsenal. It is a weapon that gave him an advantage beyond his military might. China, and indeed other American adversaries like Russia, should try to blunt this almost unique policy. The sooner China does this, the better for China. In addition, an alliance with Iran gives China its best access to the Middle East (West Asia) and beyond.
However, please note that Iran is not in a strong negotiating position. It has to take a big chunk of what China offers, which is to make concessions and join the One Belt One Road initiative. But that’s only for 25 years. And if Iran adopts rational, coherent and well-designed policies, even for 10 to 15 years, it could be on the right track to lasting prosperity. But will Iran do what it needs?
So, yes, it could be a game-changer if Iran adopts and pursues sound policies. This has been and always will be the key.

Q: What will be Raisi’s main economic challenges?

A: I don’t envy President Raisi. It has monumental economic challenges. It must find the ways and means to achieve much higher and sustained economic growth. He needs it to provide good jobs to provide food, shelter, health care and good educational opportunities. This is all for the very short term. But in the medium to long term, it needs economic prosperity and better opportunities to deter talented Iranian university graduates from emigrating.
Most of them will not come to fruition if the focus is only on the rapid injection of funds from Iran’s frozen assets and higher oil revenues to give a brief economic relief to the majority of Iranians. . Yes, Iran needs sanctions relief, but this must be accompanied by sound economic policies that are maintained from one Iranian presidency to the next.


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