The Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) hosted a Panel Discussion on ‘China-Iran Deal: Prospects for Pakistan’ on June 10, 2021. The panel of experts included: Dr. Syed Qandil Abbas, Assistant Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad; Dr. Ali Ahmadi, Tehran based scholar and analyst of Economic Statecraft and US Foreign Policy in the Middle East; and Dr. Talat Shabbir, Director, China Pakistan Study Centre (CPSC), ISSI. In addition to these panellists, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General, ISSI and Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors, ISSI also took part in the discussion.
Ms. Amina Khan, Director Centre for Afghanistan, Middle East & Africa (CAMEA), ISSI, opened the session. She mentioned that signing the ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ is a major milestone in China-Iran bilateral relationships. It came at a particularly difficult strategic moment for both countries as they navigate tensions with the United States. While the contents of the document of the deal have yet to be made public, it is believed that the clauses are similar to the previously leaked draft. According to the 18-page long document, the multibillion-dollar deal encompasses cooperation in diverse fields such as banking, agriculture, industrial & infrastructure development, defence and telecommunications. Proposed projects also include free trade zones in northwestern Iran, she highlighted.