This time, he emerged as the people’s sympathizer. In his speech in Gilan province, northern Iran, Ahmadinejad issued a warning about President Hassan Rouhani’s secret deal with a foreign country.
“I heard that they are negotiating over closing a new 25-year deal with a foreign country and no one knows about it,” Dolat-e Bahar website affiliated to Ahmadinejad’s allies quoted him. Ahmadinejad had also claimed, “Any agreement that is closed with foreign counterparts secretly and without considering the will of the Iranian people and opposes the interests of the country and the nation is not valid, and the Iranian nation will not recognize it.”
Ahmadinejad reckoned that the content of the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), had been kept hidden from the people and members of Majlis (parliament). However, on July 23, 2015, supreme leader Ali Khamenei said, “These talks are beyond our P5+1 negotiation and this is a negotiation with the Americans. The Americans appealed for these talks. It is also related to the tenth administration’s era [Ahmadinejad’s second term]. These negotiations started before this [Rouhani] administration.” Khamenei’s website published his remarks in a session with state officials.
In response to Ahmadinejad, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi denied reports that there are islands at the center of a comprehensive program between Iran and China, Tasnim news agency affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force wrote. “There is no news of the transfer of Iranian islands, nor the presence of the military forces or other illusions,” Mousavi commented.
During the Majlis’ July 8 session, presidium member Mohammad Reza Sabbaghian said, “Representatives must further supervise the Iran-China negotiations.” He emphasized that the Majlis should not allow the approval of the “Zarif-made deal” as quickly as the JCPOA was approved within just 20 minutes, he said in reference to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
However, Deputy Speaker Amir Hossein Ghazizadeh Hashemi, who presided the session, defended the administration. “Representatives of the Economic and Security Commissions have been informed about the deal, and the joint investment document and the draft have yet to reach the final phase,” he said. This exposes that the 25-year deal is supported by high-ranking officials, including the Khamenei staff.
In this respect, it would be beneficial to have a glimpse of several details revealed by petroleum-economic.com on September 3, 2019. At the time, the report shed light on the benefits of each part of the contract. In also mentioned that Khamenei was briefed by Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri and senior figures in oil and trade fields, as well as IRGC commanders.
According to petroleum-economic.com, “The central pillar of the new deal is that China will invest $280bn developing Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemicals sectors. This amount may be front-loaded into the first five-year period of the deal, but the understanding is that further amounts will be available in every subsequent five-year period, subject to both parties’ agreement.”
This lavish privilege has granted much to China while the country is the second richest country in the world with a Gross Domestic Product (GPD) of $14.14 trillion and Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of $27.31 trillion in 2019. Iran’s GPD, however, was estimated $463 billion by the World Bank Group on May 1, 2020. Therefore, economic profits are not the priority of Iran’s authorities despite the country being hit by numerous financial problems and millions of citizens living below the poverty line.
Additionally, China will be granted the right to delay payments for Iranian products for up to two years. The Iranian government also privileged China to pay in soft currencies, which means that no U.S. dollars will be involved in these commodity transaction payments from China to Iran.
Notably, China will receive an 8-12 percent discount during the exchange rate in converting soft currencies such as those that have accrued from doing business in Africa, the Former Soviet Union (FSU) states, and renminbi [Chinese currency] to hard ones like the U.S. dollar. This means a total discount of up to 32 percent for China on all oil, gas, and petrochemical purchases, according to an Iranian official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Furthermore, Chinese companies have been permitted to deploy “5,000 security personnel on the ground of Iran to protect Chinese projects, and there will be additional personnel and material available to protect the eventual transit of oil, gas, and petchems supply from Iran to China,” according to the report.
Surprisingly, Iranian authorities frequently reiterate anti-imperialist slogans against the United States, Israel, Britain, etc. and blame regional countries for doing business with those states. They vehemently speak about expelling all foreign troops from the Middle East and funding their extremist proxies to launch attacks targeting U.S. and European soldiers, and interests in the region.
However, they would simultaneously welcome the infantry of the second imperialist despite the ayatollahs had previously condemned any trade with Kaffir individuals [infidels]. Therefore, the matter is neither about resistance against foreigners nor about religious beliefs.
At the beginning of the Islamic Republic’s era in Iran, Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the theocratic government, announced that “Preserving the ruling system is the most important task.” In this context, while Iranian authorities have been challenged by nationwide protests and face unprecedented public distrust and fury, as well as being under international isolation and losing their prolonged interests in regional countries, they have constantly resorted to putting Iran’s resources and even territories on auction.
In fact, Tehran seeks the vote of permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to ease economic pressures and sanctions. Therefore, the ayatollahs unannouncedly divided the country between China and Russia. It is worth noting that in August 2018, in a unilateral accord, Iran withdrew from its interests in the Caspian Sea, which practically granted huge resources of the country’s northern regions to Russia.
In conclusion, Iranian authorities are concerned about the upcoming protests due to the country’s dire economic conditions in the status quo. Meanwhile, after the humiliating failure of Khamenei’s “resistance economy” policy and the revelation of many corrupt cases among prominent figures of both the “reformist” and “hardliner” factions, the government is attempting to maintain power by amplifying oppressive measures and contributing national resources to foreigners.
However, these policies merely fuel anger among the people who witness how the ayatollahs are squandering the country’s assets to the benefit of foreigners in return for nothing. All the while, the country extensively needs revenue, employment, reinforcement of essential infrastructures in health sectors for instance.