China will arm the Iranian army in exchange for oil, experts said

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MOSCOW, (BM) – Amid the rapid escalation of Western military and economic pressure against both countries, China and Iran have developed a new landmark economic and security partnership that would pave the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investment in the Middle East state.

Read more: Washington wants an extension of the arms embargo against Iran

This occurs during the ongoing economic crisis in Iran, which, despite its rich resources, has been unable to effectively manage its economy to withstand Western economic sanctions.

Enhanced economic ties will be complemented by improved defense ties, including joint training, intelligence sharing, and joint research and development for future weapons programs.

Beijing and Tehran have been close partners since the early 1980s, when China, along with North Korea, became a major arms supplier and economic partner after the overthrow of the West-oriented Iranian monarchy in 1979.

China strongly opposes recent Western efforts to impose sanctions on Iran through the UN Security Council, as well as US-led efforts to impose an unlimited UN arms embargo on a country with an existing embargo that expires in October this year.

China is considered the leading candidate for providing Iran with a number of next-generation weapons systems, with contracts expected to be announced after the expiration of the arms embargo in October.

Among the leading Chinese systems that Iran is expected to show interest in are J-10C generation 4 ++ light fighters, PL-15 air-to-air missiles, VT-4 battle tanks and a number of subsystems, including vertical launch technologies, which will be integrated into Iran’s surface warships.

Iran is already a major operator of Chinese weapons, licensing the production of a number of Chinese anti-ship cruising missile classes and receiving Chinese assistance for modifying U.S.-supplied F-4 Phantom fighters into modern naval strike platforms.

Read more: Washington will prevent Iran from buying weapons from Russia and China

He also deploys a J-7 fighter squadron and is reportedly working closely with a number of weapons programs, including his highly successful drone program, thanks to information obtained from a study of the CIA RQ-170, which was reportedly transferred to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army .

Iran’s Chinese economic support was significant and key to strengthening the country, as Western sanctions efforts intensified. Investments under the new agreement are expected to be directed to the oil sector, as well as the banking sector, telecommunications, ports and railways.

Given that Iran has opposed Western plans in the Middle East, especially over the past decade, fighting pro-Western militants and providing direct support to the Syrian government, as the Western powers sought to overthrow it, arming the Hezbollah militia and reportedly supporting the forces of the Ansurullah coalition in Yemen, Iran’s fortification provides Beijing with the means to keep the West tied to the Middle East and undermines its ability to “turn into Asia” to target China itself.

Although China maintains close ties with a number of Iranian adversaries, such as Saudi Arabia and Israel, its support for Iran can be seen as a means of containing the Western bloc.

Iran is also a very valuable source of oil for China, and the current deal is expected to cover oil sales conditions over the next 25 years.

Read more: We should not allow a new arms race in the Middle East, Pompeo said

The United States opposes lifting Iran’s arms embargo

The United States of America will not allow Iran to buy Russian or Chinese fighter jets, regardless of whether the UN extends the arms embargo on the Islamic Republic in October, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on June 23.

The Secretary of State noted that the termination of the ban on the sale of weapons to Tehran would mean that he could buy fighters, such as the Russian Su-30 or Chinese J-10. According to the American politician, this cannot be allowed.

“With these deadly planes, Europe and Asia will be at gunpoint in Iran. The United States will never let this happen,” wrote Pompeo.

He attached a drawing to his publication, which depicts the radius of action of the Su-30 and J-10, respectively, 3,000 and 1,648 km. The figure shows that a Russian fighter from Iran will be able to fly to Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Italy and other countries.

The Chinese fighter, according to this scheme, will be able to reach the southwestern borders of some countries of Eastern Europe.

Russia supports lifting Iran’s arms embargo

On June 23, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a letter to UN Secretary General Anthony Guterresch, in which he mentioned that senior representatives of the US State Department are promoting ideas on imposing an unlimited arms embargo on Iran through the Security Council and on using the mechanisms provided for in resolution 2231 (governing the establishment of the Joint Comprehensive action plan).

Read more: Why Iran might prefer Chinese fighters than the Russian MiG-35?

At the same time, the Russian minister emphasized that there are no objective reasons to raise the issue of the arms embargo against Iran. He recalled that the “permissive order of deliveries” of military equipment to Iran was temporary – this was done to launch the agreements reached in 2015, which is now irrelevant.

As Lavrov emphasized, the application of restrictions on the supply of arms to Iran after October 18, 2020 “was never intended, and there are no legal or other reasons to reconsider this understanding.”

What is Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)?

Iran and the Six of international negotiators reached a historic agreement in July 2015 to resolve the long-standing problem of the Iranian atom. The months-long negotiations culminated in the adoption of a joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), the implementation of which will completely remove Iran’s previously imposed economic and financial sanctions by the UN Security Council, the United States and the European Union.

The agreement also provided that the arms embargo will be lifted from Iran within 5 years, arms deliveries are possible earlier, but only with the permission of the UN Security Council. The deal in its original form did not survive even three years: in May 2018, the United States announced a unilateral exit from it and the restoration of stringent sanctions against Tehran.

Read more: The US is facing Iran in a possible deal for a Russian Su-30 and Chinese J-10


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