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China’s New Agreement With Iran is Important, Just Not That Important Say Experts

This weekend’s signing of a highly-anticipated 25-year security and economic cooperation agreement between China and Iran was met with predictable anxiety in Washington and European capitals. The pact, signed by the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, calls for cooperation in the energy, oil, and nuclear power sectors as well as for maritime projects to promote Iran’s role in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

While the New York Times and other publications reported that the agreement is valued at $400 billion, others note that there are no specific references to precise investment figures in the 18-page pact. Even Iranian reports say the agreement is “somewhat ambiguous,” echoing sentiments from leading China-Iran scholars who say that it would be a mistake to read too much into this agreement and that it doesn’t portend some kind of dramatic shift in the region’s balance of power.

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