By Courtney Bliler
NATIONAL INTERESTS - July 28, 2015
The Iranian nuclear agreement
has been welcomed by a number of world leaders as a new chapter in
foreign relations with Tehran, largely because sanctions removal will
open up new trade and investment opportunities within Iran. While the
majority of the P5 + 1 aimed to isolate Iran from the global economy for
the last decade, China capitalized on Iran’s estrangement to secure
primary positions in both the oil and non-oil sectors of Iran’s economy.
Beijing is now placed first in line for Iranian business. More
importantly, in the coming years, Tehran could deepen its long-standing
relationship with the People’s Republic in the military, cyber, and
Beijing will benefit the most from the removal of sanctions. Since
China became a net oil importer in 1993, Beijing has turned to Tehran to
help satisfy its growing energy needs. Before UN sanctions were
imposed, the Islamic Republic was China’s third largest crude oil supplier.
In 2011, the People’s Republic imported a record 550,000 barrels per
day from Iran. China reluctantly instituted sanctions on Iran, but oil
importation continued even when sanctions were in place. In December
even stated that the U.S.-sanctioned Zhuhai Zhenrong Corporation was
negotiating a new natural gas condensate contract with the National
Iranian Oil Company. According to The Wall Street Journal,
Beijing’s oil imports from Iran have increased by 30 percent over the
last five years and now account for 9 percent of its overall imports.