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Institute for Political and International Studies and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences (SASS)

Joint panel

Joint Roundtable

Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) and Shanghai Academy for Social Sciences (SASS)

One Belt- One Road Initiative: Iran-China Common Interests & Common Concerns

Monday, June 13, 2016

IPIS, Tehran, Iran

The Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) and Shanghai Academy for Social Sciences (SASS) held a joint roundtable on Monday, June 13, 2016 in IPIS.  The session was opened by Dr. Mostafa Zahrani, the Director General of IPIS by welcoming to Dr. Wang Zhan, president of SASS, Chinese delegation and to the participants. The discussed area at this conference was focused on One Belt- One Road Initiative: Iran-China Common Interests & Common Concerns.

Dr. Wang Zhan said: we have economic developments in China in last 8 years. Australia and New Zealand have been our partners. China’s currency has been the most stable currency in the world during last 10 years. Chinese travel abroad and spend money in other countries. I stated these facts to say why China has proposed One Belt- One Road was first time proposed by China’s Prime Minster in September 2013 in Kazakhstan. This plan is as beneficial for China’s internal economy as for international community. We have had security issues in the world recently. 65 countries are involved in this plan. Iran is the most important country; Russia and Eurasia are involved also. This plan connects East Asia to Europe. The reason that we came to Iran is assessing the impact of nuclear deal on Iran’s role in this plan. We always think Iran is important but now after the deal, it plays a more significant role. 

Dr. Shariatnia, University Professor declared: There are 2 different views in Iran about this plan, one view believes that Iran is only a transit point to connect China to Europe; the other view says Iran is China’s Partner.

Iran has an important role in value chain. If you consider the documents you realize the main goal of this plan is making connection between the countries. China has 35 years economic plan, Iran as well, but there is not any accordance between these two countries. High level negotiations should take place to coordinate the policies. Iran is China’s biggest trade partner in west Asia, but there is not a legal department in charge with this matter. China is a member of WTO and Iran is not, it makes technical problems in trades between two countries. China can help Iran to join WTO. China is one the biggest investors in the world. China can also help Iran in infrastructures. We have had cooperation with China during the sanctions; we have to negotiate how to overcome our issues after the deal. We have long history in people exchange between two countries but now there are only 5 flights per week between Iran and China.

Dr. Qinhau, Deputy Director, SAAS said: Iran and China have great civilizations with 6000 years of history and culture; our people are very hardworking and intelligent. In current time also our relations have continued. The current international system has ordered by west and US, there is much unfairness in this system; both China and Iran are against the hegemony, we are against any act that hurts human being. Iran is a great producer of energy and China is a great consumer so this can be a base for economic cooperation.

Dr. Tu Qiyu, Deputy Director, SAAS stated: China and Iran cooperation in Chabahar May change India’s geopolitical view, India tries to be close to US because their relation with Pakistan and China is not good, they have signed military agreements with US to support them, India is closer to US comparing to China. China also has Zhenjiang port but we cannot invest in both ports at the same time, we have to discuss about a win-win situation in Chabahar for Iran and China.

Dr. Zahrani affirmed: people perceive things the way they want, India and Iran’s perceptions are different from Chabahar, and it is economical for us and strategic for India. Indians say US and China have isolated us. Iran and China cooperation is crucial if they want to act friendly. Things have to be understood in the concept of post economic sanctions.

Dr. Shahabi, University Professor noted: Iran - China trade challenges have two aspects, during the sanction and after the deal. Iran lost lots of its trade partners in sanction, 80% of our trade was with 6 countries during this period, 75% was with China, it was Iran’s first trade partner. Now we have to see if this cooperation continues in the new situation. They are facing new challenges so they have to make new agreements in export and import. They can develop their cooperation in oil field. The first test can be in automobile industry in which China is well established and now has to compete with French and Germans.

Dr. Ming, Deputy Director, SAAS mentioned: This plan is more economic but it has political aspects too, it has impacts on geopolitical aspects of countries. We should have deep and stable cooperation with the involved countries. China will help some countries in infrastructures. We have cooperation with some of these countries naming Iran, Turkey, and Saudi. For China one priority is preventing the growth of terrorism groups. This plan is useful in reducing ethnic conflicts and promoting natural relations. 

Dr. Shahandeh, University Professor said: I would like to analyze this topic from another view, China’s economic growth has decreased now and some of the partnerships have been cancelled in the region. China has focused on South Sea and spends money on military affairs. China had to focus on domestic economy.

At the end of the meeting Dt. Zahrani concluded: We have to reach to common definitions of concepts; we have to decide on the concepts which have roles in our future relations. We should have bilateral and multilateral negotiations about national projects and challenges. Iran and China have common threats, Afghanistan is one of them. We have to evaluate if we have common definitions from US hegemony or terrorism. Chabahar is a common opportunity for us and China. China can help us in infrastructures. Sister cities can also be an idea in developing the relations.  

Reported By Fatemah Hajjari

Institute for Political and international Studies



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