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New concerns today about the puzzling partnership between China and Iran after we -- learns.
The United States navy intercepted Chinese surface to air missiles.
On in the Ronnie and votes.
This happened off the coast of Yemen last month but again we're just learning about it now -- -- some alarms -- accusations that China's military is tied to hackers breaking into the computer networks.
-- US companies and government agencies.
As China also -- sanctions trying to stem.
Iran's nuclear program so what is this partnership all about joining us now Gordon Chang author of the coming collapse of China.
And Ilan Berman he's a vice president of the American foreign policy council also author.
A -- Iran rising.
Iran's challenge to the United States welcome to you both the court and I was at the start with this this particular incident being these arms that we found off the -- Yemen.
How big is its business between Iran and China and arms smuggling.
We'll -- -- and Iran have had a very durable partnership and it's not just small arms not just these men pads or.
The man portable air defense systems but also its nuclear weapons technology it.
And also through third parties like North Korea and Pakistan we've seen a lot of nuclear technology go to the Iranians from China so this is been a partnership that's gone on for more than a decade and it's a very dangerous trade.
A lot of what is the -- fact and on Iran's attempted to build a nuclear weapon.
No I I think the attempt has been announced if you talk to.
Knowledgeable proliferation experts in the US government they'll tell you that the type of cooperation that China is providing to Iran.
Has a tremendous effect on Iran's nuclear progress and if that cooperation with stopped you would at least have a temporary significant slowdown.
In Iran's march towards the bomb.
The fact that China hasn't really rained in these actors a lot of whom are state connected if not state controlled.
Speaks volumes about how China is following the letter but certainly not the spirit.
Of the international efforts to curb Iran's nuclear drive and Gordon and what's in it for China -- why is China even want to be involved in the Middle East.
Well there -- a number of things first of all wants to assure a steady flow of oil and natural gas.
It wants to destabilize.
The United States keep it tied down in the Persian gulf in the Middle East while China is able to pursue initiatives in east and North Asia.
And also because he's competing with Russia for influence in the Middle East as well so there are a number of different motives most of them very central to China's foreign policy objectives.
According do you think that China would like to see a a nuclear armed Iran.
You wouldn't think so -- but I think that basically big calculus in Beijing is that Iran is going to get the bomb anyway so they might as well have a good relationship with the Iranians this is very cynical of course how did very much I think mirrors the same sort of calculus it has with North Korea.
Also you know.
-- fact that they do this really ties down American foreign policy it makes us focus on the Persian gulf rather than Asia and that's exactly what they didn't want.
So what do you think of that calculation on that that strategist -- you know they're gonna get the -- anyways so in my as a have a a partnership.
No I had I think it's it's the right one and again as Gordon said very cynical but I think.
From Iran and the United States does from Saudi Arabia so there's that heavy dependency there.
And it's one that the Chinese have -- I think to good use geo politically because they have tied down the United States.
With the crisis over Iran's nuclear program in the Middle East.
But a lot of it stems from the fact that China needs Iran in order to sustain a large portion of its economic growth.
China needs Iran as much as -- -- -- China so.
In London because -- and sees is on our -- It would be more effective now we've seen these years of sanctions these years of negotiations and no -- -- I've Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons they -- nuclear power but we believe nuclear weapons.
Would be more affected you just forget about Iran for the moment and is completely focus on China and if we cut that tie would be effectively.
As strangle Iran and its economy in its nuclear program.
Well yes and now I mean I I think.
The the last year has seen a dramatic escalation of US and allied pressure on Iran's economy through new sanctions -- new him new bands on financial transactions but.
Increasingly as you see Iran -- shifting its economy pivoting just like we are to Asia in terms of its interest.
China occupies the central role all roads in curbing Iran's nuclear program increasingly are leading through China -- you were -- -- -- asking a lot of question why.
Well because our Rand is economy just would not be able to sustain itself without Chinese assistance China buys a lot of oil and natural gas is a long points out.
And also China supplies the main diplomatic support in places like the security council of the UN.
And the governing board of the international atomic energy agency a -- and gets a lot of its nuclear technology from the Chinese either directly or indirectly so you know.
-- -- would not be able to destabilize its region and the world were it not for Beijing.
It's very scary story hearing about the arms off the coast of Yemen going potentially to an area where there's a hotbed of terror.
We know the underwear bombing plot came from Yemen we knew that on tomorrow like he was there so we can't forget also that kind of threat to our national security we were able to get -- that today gentlemen that.
It's great to have your perspectives and -- -- -- conversation thank you.
Thank you do.
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