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McCaul Asks Secretary Blinken for Details Concerning Iran-China Relationship

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Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken requesting information on the relationship between Iran and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

“The PRC’s role as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council gives it significant power to block efforts to curb Iran’s malign activities if it chooses. Clearly, if the PRC is benefiting from these activities, it will be less inclined to cooperate with international efforts to mitigate Iran’s threats. U.S. policy toward both regimes must be constructed so that the two cannot work together to our disadvantage,” Lead Republican McCaul wrote.  

The full letter can be found here and below. 

Dear Secretary Blinken,

I write to ask for your assessment regarding several aspects of the Iran-People’s Republic of China (PRC) bilateral relationship, which I believe is undermining U.S. interests and those of our allies.

In March, the PRC and Iran reportedly signed a deal for $400 billion of PRC investment in Iran in exchange for a regular supply of Iranian oil. The deal reportedly also includes strengthened military cooperation. This agreement comes as Iranian oil exports to the PRC have been increasing, and may have reached a new high in March, in defiance of U.S. sanctions.

The PRC’s role as one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council gives it significant power to block efforts to curb Iran’s malign activities if it chooses. Clearly, if the PRC is benefiting from these activities, it will be less inclined to cooperate with international efforts to mitigate Iran’s threats. U.S. policy toward both regimes must be constructed so that the two cannot work together to our disadvantage.

Please respond to the following questions and requests not later than May 7, 2021.

  1. Please describe, in detail, each instance of a PRC entity violating U.S. sanctions on Iran.

  2. Has the United States raised these sanctions violations in diplomatic discussions with the PRC? If so, please provide details of these engagements.

  3. Does the Administration plan to enforce sanctions by punishing violations by PRC entities moving forward?

  1. Are PRC entities selling conventional weapons to Iran? If so, please provide details regarding these capabilities.

  2. Does the Administration assess that the March upscaling of PRC investment flows into Iran, and any infrastructure that may result, presents strategic threats for U.S. interests in the Middle East and its sea lines of communication? If so, please describe such threats.

  3. What impact has the increase in oil trade between Iran and the PRC had on global oil supply and prices? Has this trade influenced OPEC+ production cuts or increases?

  4. Has there been an adverse effect on U.S. industry as a direct result of the increase in oil trade between Iran and the PRC? If so, please describe the effect.

  5. Does the Administration assess that enforcing sanctions by punishing violations would impact the ability of Iran to continue exporting oil to the PRC or of the PRC to continue importing oil from Iran? If so, to what degree would enforcement of sanctions violations impact this ability?

  6. What is your assessment of PRC and Iranian intelligences services’ level of cooperation? Do you expect that to increase in the future?

Please provide this information in unclassified form, with a classified annex as needed.

Thank you, and I look forward to your response.

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Author: ForeignAffairs

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