China Courts Iran

Why One Belt, One Road Will Run Through Tehran

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (left) greets his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing, December 2016. Reuters

As the Trump administration works out the specifics of its strategy to contain Iran, China is looking for ways to bring Iran into the global system. After the recent party congress, which cemented President Xi Jinping’s grip on power, those efforts will likely take the form of the completion of his most ambitious foreign policy plan, the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, of which Tehran will be one of the key beneficiaries. Beijing has said that OBOR is needed to create the infrastructure to encourage trade, but the initiative is about much more. It is also a way to build political confidence among participating states. And it seems to be working in Iran. There, OBOR is seen as a project that will make Iran an indispensable partner not only for China but also for India, Russia, and the states of Central Asia. 


Xi’s plan, launched in 2013, was

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