China-Iran: Close, but not cosy

Regional Views

China-Iran relations have deepened over the past few years. Even in the face of US sanctions, China has offered a lifeline to Tehran. The relationship is rooted in both diplomatic and economic interests.Yet while economic ties are expanding, China is also playing a cautious game with Iran. This week, we look at how: 

  • Co-operation between China and Iran continues to develop following a 25-year agreement that was signed in March 2021.

  • While oil is critical to bilateral relations, China’s increasing control over independent refiners is likely to affect future trade links with Iran.

  • Diplomatic ties are still strong, but they may be overstated by Iran; China is likely to pursue a neutral position in the MENA region.


Florence Eid-Oakden, Ph.D, Chief Economist

Leila Lajevardi, Mingqiao Zhao, Analysts

The Regional Views series are thematic papers aimed at identifying and analysing factors behind medium to long-term economic trends shaping the region. Our analysis draws conclusions that help businesses and investors get ahead of the curve. As a firm staffed by Middle Easterners, we focus on insight rather than standard analysis.

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