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Iran–China Cooperation in the Silk Road Economic Belt: From Strategic Understanding to Operational Understanding
2017-10-19 11:02:00

China & World Economy / 46–61, Vol. 25, No. 5, 2017


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Iran–China Cooperation in the Silk Road Economic Belt:
From Strategic Understanding to Operational Understanding

Mohsen Shariatinia, Hamidreza Azizi


Abstract

Iran served as a bridge in the ancient Silk Road, connecting the East and the West. It also has great potential to play an important role in the new Silk Road. The present study analyzes the factors affecting Iran–China cooperation in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative at the strategic and operational levels. This article shows that, at the strategic level, Iran defines this project as an opportunity to improve its status in the world economy, expanding its room to manoeuvre in the international arena and developing its ties with China, a rising great power. At the operational level, the opportunities and challenges for Iran–China cooperation could be summarized as pertaining to five realms within the Silk Road Economic Belt Initiative: policy coordination, facilitation of connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people bonds. The present study asserts that the main opportunity for cooperation between the two countries lies in facilitating connectivity and that the key challenge is financial integration.


Key words: China, infrastructural ties, Iran, regional integration, Silk Road Economic Belt