China’s Strategic Buffering and Iran

Yesterday, Britain, France, and Germany asserted that Iran has violated a U.N. Resolution buttressing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) by “developing and testing ballistic missiles, transferring hundreds of drones to Russia, and enriching uranium to an unprecedented 60% level for a country without a nuclear weapons program — all in violation of a U.N. resolution endorsing the deal.”

Background

In the past, mainland China has proliferated nuclear weapons capability to Pakistan and North Korea as a deterrent buffer against India, South Korea, Japan, and the United States. China has been doing the same for Iran and Saudi Arabia as an ‘energy buffer’ and Belt and Road policy, through its sovereign firms.

A 2020 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission study by Will Green and Taylore Roth reported that the U.S. State Department had sanctioned China’s sovereign company Wuhan Sanjiang Export and Import Co. Ltd. for selling technologies for Iran’s military in 2017 and in 2020 in violation of the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act, adding:

The Chinese government also has turned a blind eye to the proliferation of technologies that according to the U.S. Department of Justice, “could be used in the production of weapons of mass destruction and/or devices used to deliver weapons of mass destruction.”

And a Jan. 23, 2023, a Congressional Research Service report on Chinese Nuclear and Missile Proliferation reported that the Chinese government has played a shell game in claiming to cease direct nuclear and missile technology transfers to Iran and North Korea while shifting the practice to China’s sovereign-owned entities. 

Upshot

In view of the above it appears China, with Russia’s help intends to proliferate nuclear weapons capability to autocratic Middle Eastern energy states to make them loyal energy buffers for China while coopting their autocratic regimes in alignment against Israel and the United States via the Hamas provocation. Russia is China’s other energy buffer state, a strategic and violent influencer over OPEC, co-proxy with Iran, and a war making gray state dividing the free nations and their alliances by subversion, lying diplomacy, and force. These military moves support the Belt and Road which in turn is intended to be a multiplier of China’s instruments of power.

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