New Silk Road and opportunities for Iran
New Silk Road and opportunities for Iran
March 30, 2018
Tehran, March 30, IRNA – Iranian policy makers has been focusing on the new economic and political capacities of the Far East and the Middle East. Playing an important role in the Silk Road international project is an instance of the policy.
The relationship between the world's Eastern pole, China, and Western pole, ancient Rome, has been among the priorities and needs of humanity since the formation of the two poles.
The Silk Road, an interwoven roads network, was created to meet the needs of the countries located along th route and used for centuries as a vital high way. The road extended from western China to Eastern Europe, and not long ago Iranian and Ottoman kings were competing to control its resources. The route was the main connection of Asia, Eurasia, northern Africa and Eastern Europe.
Although ignored due to emergence of new technologies in the recent centuries, and changes in borders of some countries and formation of some new republics in Central Asia, the road came once again at the center of attention in 2013.
As one of the biggest economic powers of the world, China realized the importance of the road and launched the Silk Road project.
The new Silk Road is de facto a multibillion dollar project, named 'One Belt, One Road' , which was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping to connect China to Africa, Asia and Europe through railways and roads.
In the Silk Road project, 65 counties are involved, one of which is Iran. The countries encircle 60% of the world population and produce 1/3 of the world GDP.
The project is so important that, in May 2017, it gathered together leaders of 30 counties to consult and make use of its benefits.
Although some Western countries considered the projects as China's ambition to increase its hegemony in Asia, it provides Iran with a good opportunity to increase its leverage in the power equilibrium of Eastern and Western blocs.
China announced in 2013 that it would invest some 900 million dollars to revive the Silk Road, which was interpreted by economic analysts as the biggest investment ever made by any country out of its borders and as by political analysts as Beijing's power show-off.
Vast Iran is one of the most important countries located on the Silk Road. Iran has access to free waters through the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and has huge resources of oil and natural gas, advanced transportation system compared to that of its neighbors which are located on the Silk Road, stability and security, and also cultural penetration far beyond its geographical borders.
The Silk Road passes through many countries, but, regarding the conditions of today's world, Iran, China and Turkey are the most important ones, which is of great importance at a time when dominance-seeking US President Donald Trump is afraid of any countries getting strength. Beijing carries a very hefty weight in the world's power equilibrium, which Washington cannot close its eyes to it.
What's more, Iran and Turkey, as two developing countries, that have an important role in the developments of the Middle East, alongside China can create a triangle, which is not welcomed by either the US or the EU. The new Silk Road direction can strengthen the triangle, and weaken the regional and extra regional threats against Iran.
Oil, as Iran's capital and undeniable need of China, Caucasus, and even Europe, is among China's main reasons to make huge investments in the road. Transporting oil is vital to China's growing development; hence it has compelled China to find ways to carry the precious oil to the Far Eastern country by sea and by land.
On the other hand, China is a big exporter to Iran, Turkey and Europe; the export can be better in speed and quality through the Silk Road.
Systemizing the transportation in the corridor and organizing the export and import is another issue emphasized by countries taking part in the huge project. This can provide Iran with the requirements for speeding up its non-oil exports. The new road can also provide Iran with security amid Trump's warmongering rhetoric.