Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
Iran will ensure steady oil supply to China even if US provokes war over Taiwan question: Iranian AmbassadorPublished by Global Times, February 10, 2022
ST Hsieh Note: We only include the section of this report relevant to oil/energy.
February 11 marks Iran’s National Day and the 43rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution of 1979. In an exclusive interview with the Global Times (GT), Iranian Ambassador to China Mohammad Keshavarzzadeh (Keshavarzzadeh) spoke with reporters Hu Yuwei and Bai Yunyi, highly recognizing the hard-won victories of both Iranians and Chinese people in preserving territorial integrity and political sovereignty. The envoy applauded the “historically glorious and memorable Beijing Winter Olympics.” He also underlined joint Iran-China efforts aimed toward regional and global peace and stability, while sounding a warning that the US’ own policies will topple US hegemony. Iran will ensure a steady supply of oil to China, and has the prospect of enhanced military cooperation with China, he noted.
PART 1 – Common roots and firm support
GT: February 11 is Iran’s National Day. Will there be any celebrations in Beijing? What messages do you wish to convey to the Chinese people on this day?
Keshavarzzadeh: In light of pandemic prevention measures, we will have no such gathering in Beijing to commemorate our National Day. But we have considered various online alternatives including webinars, messages, articles, interviews, and social media posts.
The 22nd of Bahman (February 11) is a reminder of pride and honor to the Iranian nation as a result of the fundamental change that took place with the historical unity of the people who, together and under the leadership of Imam Khomeini, chose the path of struggle for a better tomorrow.
Iran and China had splendid civilizations in ancient times. The 1979 Iranian Revolution was a victory for the Iranian people against outside invasion. In contemporary times, both Iran and China have made much effort to preserve their territorial integrity and sovereignty and their citizens’ right to self-governance. China and Iran have always been at the forefront against US hegemony, and share similar views and attitudes on many international and regional issues.
China opposes unfairly imposed US sanctions on Iran, and Iran firmly supports China’s territorial integrity and its position on Hong Kong and Taiwan-related affairs, which the US has ceaselessly sought to influence.
GT: If China and the US go to war over the Taiwan question, what position would Iran take? And if the US blocks China’s oil transportation routes, will Iran continue to supply oil to China?
Keshavarzzadeh: The one-China principle is an important baseline for us. On the Taiwan question, Iran fully supports China, and we also hope that the US won’t misguidedly ignite a military conflict with China rather than negotiate.
In case of a conflict, Iran will assuredly support China and ensure the security of energy delivery.
The China-Iran relationship is far-reaching and Iran will not change its policy toward China because of changes in US attitudes, as some countries have done.
GT: In January, China and Iran jointly implemented a 25-year comprehensive cooperation plan signed in 2021. Media reported that one of the agreed-upon terms of the deal is a long-term supply of Iranian oil to China. Can you provide more information on this and on the current cooperation between China and Iran in oil and other energy fields? Will Iran consider gradually de-dollarizing its oil exports to China in the future?
Keshavarzzadeh: Presently, Iran is under no international sanctions aside from US-imposed unilateral ones. China as an important player in the international community has repeatedly opposed and disavowed such sanctions. China engages in bilateral and international trade relations based on international norms, rules, and regulations, disregarding unilateral US sanctions.
Oil supply is only a small part of a comprehensive agreement, and energy cooperation will continue in the future.
In energy-related international trade agreements, de-dollarization has become a trend. Many other countries including Russia, Brazil, and India are engaging in bilateral trade based on their local currencies, aimed at confronting this unilateral system and US-led bullying that weaponizes the dollar and leverages against other nations. Additionally, it enhances China’s role in international trade to overtake the US. Naturally, other countries will be inspired to engage in yuan-based trade.