RAND CORPORATION - 2012
Over the past few decades, China and Iran have developed a broad and
deep partnership centered on China's energy needs and Iran's abundant
resources as well as significant non-energy economic ties, arms sales
and defense cooperation, and geostrategic balancing against the United
States. This partnership presents a unique challenge to U.S. interests
and objectives. In particular, China's policies have hampered U.S. and
international efforts to dissuade Iran from developing a nuclear weapons
capability. This paper examines factors driving Chinese-Iranian
cooperation, potential tensions in the Chinese-Iranian partnership, and
U.S. policy options for influencing this partnership to meet U.S.
objectives. The authors conclude that the U.S. ability to fundamentally
reshape China's relationship with Iran is fairly limited, but that the
United States should continue to forestall an Iranian nuclear weapons
capability and pressure China to reduce ties to Iran.