By INU Staff
INU- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has recently engaged in a tour of Pakistan, India and China with the goal of reducing Iran’s economic opportunities within those Asian countries.
It is clear from the mullahs’ statements that the Iranian Regime is furious about the chance that Iran’s economic isolation could increase if those three countries want to boost their economic and political cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
Five agreements and memoranda of understanding worth $18.5 billion in oil refining, renewable energy, petrochemicals and mining projects were signed during Crown Prince Mohammed’s Pakistan visit, which concluded on February 19.
It should not be surprising that the Saudi crown prince’s visit to Pakistan has increased the divide between Pakistan and Iran. After all, the two nations were already competing to build ports connecting Central Asian countries with an outlet on the Arabian Sea. And now that Saudi Arabia has agreed to provide the money for Pakistan to build a giant oil refinery at Gwadar port, the Iranian port of Chabahar is less likely to be developed.
India had previously been investing in Chabahar, but if it wants to get Saudi investment, especially with increased US pressure, it may have to withdraw its support. Of course, data indicates that India had already been doing this, with sales of Iranian crude oil to India declining 45% in January, even though India received a US sanctions waiver.
Another reason why Saudi investment in Gwadar is so important is that China has already invested more than $60 billion in order to secure this as its outlet to the Arabian Sea
Iran sees all of this as a major threat to its financial security, something already under threat, so the Regime sent out statements attacking Pakistan for allying with Saudi Arabia against Iran.
This indicates that the Saudi investment and US sanctions are likely to cut off Iran’s economic ties to the three countries, but also reduce the number of countries and businesses who wish to trade through Chabahar.
According to observers familiar with the situation, Indian, Chinese and Pakistani interests with Saudi Arabia are much more important, profitable, and safe, than the relations, the Asian nations currently have with Iran.
After all, Iran is a country facing widespread domestic protest and the likelihood of regime overthrow soon. It is also facing huge international pressure and the deals may not be worth the paper they’re printed on.