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14 October 2009

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And the strategic context?

A new study on one piece of the situation, China and Iran:

"Over the past quarter century, China has been challenged to balance a major interest in maintaining comity with the United States against its efforts to develop multi-dimensional cooperative relations with important countries in the Persian Gulf—including countries in policy conflict with Washington. This “Persian Gulf dilemma” in China’s foreign policy first took shape—and has challenged decision-makers in Beijing most consistently—with regard to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Over the years, the Islamic Republic has emerged as the de facto leader of regional resistance to America’s longstanding hegemonic position in the Gulf and the Middle East more broadly. As tension between Washington and Tehran has risen, U.S. demands on Beijing to cooperate with U.S. efforts to isolate and press the Islamic Republic have mounted. But, since the mid 1990s, China has developed an increasingly strategic energy relationship with Iran, reinforced by a variety of economic and technological cooperation agreements. And Tehran, for its part, has made China the focus of an emerging “Eastern orientation” in Iranian foreign policy...."
http://www.sais-jhu.edu/centers/reischauer/moving_slightly_closer.pdf

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