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What China-Iran deal means for Washington

China's reported multibillion economic and security deal with Iran could be a double-edged sword.

Iran is reportedly in the final stages of agreeing to a $400 billion economic and security deal with China, which includes infrastructure investment, discounted Iranian oil and enhanced cooperation on both defense and intelligence. Iran, suffering from the horrific impact of COVID-19 and with its economy in free fall since the Trump administration reimposed sanctions after withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018, is in desperate economic straits.

Iran rejected the US offer to negotiate lifting sanctions in return for a new agreement that would remove JCPOA sunset clauses and address Iran’s state-sponsored terrorism and ballistic missile program. In an effort to induce the United States to return to negotiations, Iran began escalating attacks on the United States and its allies in the summer of 2019 by attacking oil tankers in the Gulf; seizing the Stena Impero oil tanker; shooting down a US drone; and launching a missile attack against Saudi Aramco facilities.

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