Iranian people skeptical of government’s longterm cooperation deal with China

“The government of the Islamic Republic does not represent the people of Iran,” posted one Twitter user.

By World Israel News Staff

Iranians were reacting with skepticism and anger Monday after Beijing and Tehran signed a 25-year “strategic” cooperation agreement on the weekend, the Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported.

Iranian officials were forced to try and calm public fears after social media responded angrily when it was announced that a large part of the agreement was being kept secret.

Criticism was aimed at the government of President Hassan Rouhani and officials close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei for failing to release the details of the deal that reportedly covers a variety of economic activity from oil and mining to promoting industrial activity in Iran and bilateral collaboration in transportation and agriculture.

Key details were not released about the defense and security cooperation aspects of the agreement.

Opponents to the deal were tweeting with the hashtags “#china_get_out_of_iran” and “#iran_is_not_for_sale.”

“The government of the Islamic Republic does not represent the people of Iran,” posted one Twitter user. “These are the intruders of Iran. We, the people of Iran, say no to this shameful deal of the government with China.”

However, some Iranians supported the move, saying it was putting pressure on the United States.

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“I would say that it is not bad that the US President should be worried about the Iran-China agreement,” tweeted a user named The Phoenix in Farsi. “Of course, the taste of being anxious is not bad. Now, thank God, we are not ridiculed.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping met Khamenei in 2016 when he initially proposed the pact, and Islamic hardliners in the government have been pushing for Iran to join forces with Moscow and Beijing against the West and reduce American influence.

“Iran is ready to work with China to earnestly implement the Iran-China comprehensive strategic partnership to push bilateral practical cooperation to a new high,” Khamenei said at the time.

The signing is the culmination of five years of negotiations. Media outlets estimate Iran might see some $400 billion in Chinese investments, the Sharq Al-Awsat report said, noting that “the agreement opens the door to expanding military cooperation, collaborations in research and development of weapons and intelligence.”

China is Iran’s largest trading partner and was one of the biggest purchasers of Iranian oil before former U.S. president Donald Trump reimposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran in 2018.