By Nader Uskowi
Iran’s oil exports to China this year amounted to 25% of all its oil exports, and growing: If the daily averages of China’s imports for the last two or three months are maintained (with many expecting them to actually rise), then in 2012 China will be importing nearly one-third of all Iran’s oil exports. Iran in return is importing Chinese goods on a massive scale.
China has truly become the lifeline of the Iranian economy, and one of the country’s remaining supporters at the world’s stage. In turn, Iran has truly become dependent on China, more so than the previous regime was dependent on the West.
Aside from the obvious negative implications of such a dependency for the country, there is a positive aspect to it, especially during these tense days: China remains the only country that can actually influence the Iranian policy, pushing it toward moderation. That’s what the Chinese vice foreign minister was doing in Tehran in the past 48 hours, and hopefully that’s what the Chinese will continue doing to avoid a military conflict involving Iran.