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tv   Inside Story  LINKTV  March 31, 2021 5:30am-6:01am PDT

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♪ anchor: time for a quick check of the headlines. u.s. courts hearing witness testimony in the trial of former u.s. police officer charged in george floyd's death. a firefighter described how she was prevented from giving first-aid to floyd when he appeared unconscious. >> in my memory, i offered to walk them through it, or told him if he does not have a pulse, you need to start compressions, and that was not done either. >> are these things that you wanted to do? >> it's what i would have done for anybody.
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>> when you could not do that, how did that make you feel? >> totally distressed. >> 40 frustrated -- were you frustrated? >> yes. anchor: politicians in kentucky have approved a partial ban of so-called no-knock warrants, about one year after breonna taylor was shot and killed by police during that type of raid. the case fueled nationwide protests against police brutality. to conduct a no-knock warrant, police need clear and convincing evidence. more than 1000 countries are raising concerns over the origins of covid-19, having investigator sent to the chinese city of one 10th the virus most likely passed from bass to humans through another animal. some governments say more could be learned.
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the leaders of results armed forces have joined to resign. part of a cap it overhaul by president jair bolsonaro. the president increasingly under pressure to assert greater control over the military. in myanmar, the ethnic armed group says the military is sending thousands of soldiers to areas it controls in the southeast. airstrikes are reported at basis. thousands of people have been displaced, hundreds have fled to neighboring thailand. those were the headlines. the news continues on al jazeera after inside story. stay tuned, thanks for watching. bye for now. ♪
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>> it's been described as a strategic deal. china and iran signed a long-term agreement, but in a volatile region, what to both country stand to gain and what does it mean for the middle east? this is inside story. anchor: hello above into the program. it has been in the works since 2016 and dubbed a comprehensive, strategic partnership. the deal signed between china and iran is expected to boost their long-standing economic and political alliance.
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the corporation would cover a wide range of chinese investments in iran's most imrtant sectors, including energy and infrastructure. it is the first long-term agreement of its type to be signed by iran with a major world power, it comes at a tough time for iran's economy that has been devastated by u.s. sanctions. it was signed in iran's capital on saturday. that seven tided -- coincided of the 50th anniversary of chinese ties with iran. china is iran's long-standing ally and one of its largest trading partners, the two countries are believed to share an annual trade worth at least $20 billion in recent years. in 2016, tehran and beijing agreed to push that more than tenfold to $600 billion over a decade. both nations have strained relations with the u.s. and are under sanctions imposed by washington. china's opponents say this cooperation deal aims to expand nation's economic and political
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influence in the middle east. toronto's hardening at stance towards the u.s. and the european signatories of the 2015 nuclear accord, and demands the u.s. left sanctions between -- before it holds talks. donald trump pulled the u.s. out of the nuclear deal and reimposed sanction on iran in 2018, china is a signatory, as are russia, france germany and the eu. iran's president has voiced his appreciation of beijing's support on accord, saying, cooperation between us is important for the implementation of the joint comprehensive plan of action, and the europeans commitment to the deal and could change the existing conditions. china says, the cooperation deal does not target any country. >> the planned focus is on tapping the potentials of economic and people to people cooperation between the two nations, and making plans for
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long-term cooperation prospects and paths. it does not exclude specific contracts or indicators, and it is not targeted at any third party. it is believed this plan will provide a large-scale framework for future cooperation between china and iran. ♪ anchor: let's bring in our guests in beijing. a political and economic analyst. and a professor of political science. joining us from brussels if the director for the center for russia, europe and asia studies. welcome to the program, thank you for joining us. by lang out the strategic plan with iran, is china positioning itself as a great superpower and sending a message to the u.s., or is it coming to iran's rescue, with the nuclear deal hanging in the balance? >> i think it is a bit of both. we have seen huge momentum growing.
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we saw the secretary of state blinken's visit to japan and south korea as part of the revitalization of alliances, but the meeting in anchorage between the chinese and the u.s., the first time during the biden administration, and that was quickly followed by the secretary of state visit to nato. this is part of a growing narrative. at the same time, the eu impose sanctions because of human rights abuses, and be it was coordinated, the u.s., you pay and canada also had sent sanctions. i think this is part of a longer, wider narrative. an edge in this agreement has been under negotiation for some time. the significance of it being announced on saturday, in this moment this week of activity, in regards to china, russia, the u.s., aligning with various roots. in addition to that, we saw that
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p.r.c. secretary of defense traveling to serbia, hungary, north macedonia and greece in order to say we will do to vence cooperation with them. the chinese foreign minister was in turkey. all of this within the last week. it's an incredible period, china always says we do not like cold war thinking, but it seems china is signaling they have these alliances. iran has long been a key issue for them. it's a good match, i ran under sanctions really needs to infrastructure and investment. it grabbed headlines, $400 billion, we do not know if it is real or not, but some money up front for iranian oil. it also throws a little bit of a wrench into the jcpoa negotiations. the biden administration has made it clear they would like to see some form of a concession from iran before they begin further negotiations. anchor: she is right which he says it has been negotiated for a few years.
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this was in fact proposed back in 2016 by china. there was a draft of it that was leaked to the media last year. why do you think it has gone ahead now? >> quite frankly, as mentioned, this has been a momentous week. obviously, the key here is the arbitration. -- the orchestration. the u.s. and its allies, biden said he is trying to put together a gang of countries who are going to put china in its place. if you think about the parallels that we are entering positions into pre-world war i. in essence, trying to avoid war. this is the worry that we have. i would take one issue, this idea that it is china engaging
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in cold war thinking. she acknowledged, and we have all said, this is orchestrated on the u.s. side. unilateral tariffs have not been withdrawn, instead there is a mistake daily drumbeat of negative press, and actions against chinese officials. more piling on in terms of economics, delisting chinese companies. this can't go on unanswered. the idea that somehow it is china's fault, and the u.s. is attacking it, i think it's a false narrative. anchor: let's get the point of view from iran. iran is betting on china, ultimately. is this going to be a good bet for iran? how are people inside the country doing it? >> this is something very significant for iran. iran has been under intense pressure ever since donald trump came into power, and
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unfortunately, the biden administration is also following the so-called maximum pressure camping. iran's economy has been under a lot of pressure, and essentially this agreement will give iran reading space against u.s. pressure. it will get some leverage in potential nuclear talks, but the long-term issue here, is iran is signaling to the west that the more pressure they put on iran, the more iran will go to the eastern cap. and even right now, we have calls from the parliament that we should devise something similar with the russians. i think if this trend continues, iran will become very closely allied with the russian and chinese in any future, if you say, confrontation against the united states. in iran there has been some criticism, in the sense that, iran's revolutionary slogan over four decades ago was neither
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east nor west, so some people are criticizing it and saying, why should we go into the eastern camp, and if we are putting that slogan aside, maybe it's better to join the western camp. nevertheless, this is something that has been clearly supported by the supreme leader of iran, so it is not only the government, but something much larger. anchor: go ahead and respond to what my gues -- guest from beijing had to say about china instigatg cold war, he disagrees with that. and also, to what extent do you think washington is going to be worried about this deal? iran's supreme leader in february said the post u.s. era has started. is this politicking or is this -- there some truth to that? >> i think there is a bit of a future -- china's policies, the
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type of reeducation camps as the chinese themselves have described them, this causes a lot of friction with other countries. if iran is willing to turn a blind eye to that, to get investment from china, this might cause problems further down the road. we saw with turkey, there were heard -- huge protests. china has these agreements that they negotiate over time, and then they can actually agree to them finally at the most particular time in history when it has a maximum impact. we have seen that in europe with the copperheads of agreements on investment, that was long negotiated for seven years, 35 meetings, and was agreed in principle on december 30 under angela merkel who had a rotating european council presidency. german interests are largely in this agreement because of the german car industry and other interest in china. china captain on the low burner until it had maximum impact,
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because the u.s. administration said wait, we are coming in, the was a. of transatlantic draft under the trumpet administration, and the biden administration made it very clear they wanted to revitalize relations with allies. by giving last-minute concessions to the europeans in order to get this over the line, meant that in one sense, they were hoping to buy europe's silence. that is why the counter sanctions that china put on europe show the extent of their anger. the sanctions that were put in place on monday were quickly followed the same day by counter sanctions, which actually sanctioned members of the european parliament, and the european parliament must ratify this economic agreement. by doing that they have actually alienated them. china has overplayed their hand. they not only sanctioned european leaders, they also
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sanctioned the political and security committee, which is made up of 27 eu ambassadors and their families are included, and they sanctioned an entire german think tank. they want discourse power, they want to say we don't like what you say about china, so we are going to sanction an academic institution. in addition to that, they sanctioned the head of a swedish think tank. i think they misunderstood your very much, because when you attack people who want independent academic inquiry to what is happening in china, but you have politicians who are asking what is happening, and when you sanction them, this badly backfired. there attacking freedom of speech and basic rule of law, and the very roots of democracy. anchor: speaking of sanctions, there are sanctions on china, and there are sanctions on iran. how much of this deal can actually be implemented with the sanctions limiting how much business chinese companies can conduct in iran? >> they can conduct quite a bit.
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with the digital you want. teresa has given a long narrative, lunch list of things she things are going on. i think from beijing's point of view, the situation in change on they see complete differently. in essence they are teaching people to history and by which so they are not stuck in a backwater and unable to seek meaningful employment. china is the one who has been taking people out of poverty they have not been segregating people on the basis of who they are, they have not -- anchor: it's a topic that needs an entire program. let's get back to the deal at hand. >> between china and iran it is a geopolitical shift, i would
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agree with my colleague. they are looking east. how long that will happen, i don't know. but the reality is, the money is east. oil, energy. the united states is in essence self sublime -- south supply as long as the price of oil is about 45. europe is another matter. this does give iran breathing room, hopefully it will not be an excuse to continue with nuclear capabilities. that is not good for anybody. but there has to be a very clear and open stance on this. it's the worst kept secret in the world that israel has nukes and plenty of them and is willing to use them. at this point, if there is going
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to be denuclearization, if iran, china and the u.s. are going to operate, along with russia and europe, there has to be absolute clarity, and stop with this narrative that you are doing this and therefore i am responding. i would agree that china is stuck in this tit-for-tat response to the u.s.. i don't think that that is going to solve anything. there have to be some more creative thinking, and more thinking in terms of the international situation. much happening between these two powers is having an immense effect on the rest of the world, and preventing, in many cases, real progress being made on pressing issues today of climate change and covid. anchor: also, the nuclear deal. what is this agreement success depended on? we don't know much except that it is $400 billion to be spent
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over the next 25 years. the agreement includes the paving of roads, construction of ports, communications, as well as military cooperation. what to make of the scant details? >> it was actually the chinese who asked for the details to remain confidential. the speaker of iran's government made clear that from the iranian perspective, there was nothing secret about it. but from what we have heard from iranian officials, the deal promises $400 billion of chinese investment in iranian infrastructure. this is supposed to happen in 25 years. whether that will happen, you will have to wait and see. in return, china will get a steady stream of discounted iranian oil. even before this agreement, the chinese are buying increasing amounts of iranian oil.
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they are buying almost one million barrels per day of oil. this is in defiance of u.s. sanctions, so this is very good for iran. also, we are hearing that there is a lot of promises regarding defense and security cooperation between the two countries, and i think this is something various african. iran and china have a very deep economic relationship, almost $20 billion per year of trade. in regards to defense and security cooperation, that has never happened before on a serious level. if that actually materializes, then i think that is big big problem for the americans. that will make the chinese more involved in the middle east, and the americans will have a potential, powerful rival in the middle east. as we saw in syria when the russians entered the war, it really tips the balance of power in that war.
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i think china becoming more involved in the middle east will be very bad for the americans, and potentially good for the iranians. anchor: what about the nuclear deal? could beijing be positioning itself to play a more central role when it comes to perhaps reviving the nuclear deal that the u.s. had pulled out of? we know that china does support iran. >> it supports the jcpoa. it is not supporting any kind of military alliance. i think that is a fallacy, and i'm surprised that that is being pushed by my colleague. but they have said is there is a possible path to joining the sco, but that is to combat terrorism, not set up a defense. china has not entered into any kind of defense agreements with any other countries, and there is good reason for that. they are not looking for confrontation. at this point, china would be very interested in having the
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jcpoa putback. facing the difficulty with iran not wanting to give any concessions, other than going back to basics. they are very suspicious of the u.s., and the u.s. similarly. right now, there is a huge trust deficit. i don't know if china will be able to mend that. if there were a three party way of making sure that iran sovereignty was respected, that might help move things along. but that would have to be guaranteed by all of the major powers. anchor: to what extent does this deal perhaps undercut washington's efforts to keep iran isolated? >> i think that china has had a really good ride in the middle east. they have diversified their energy resources, so they
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receive oil from all players in the region, which is a smart strategy, they have never been asked to choose sides. in the middle east it is difficult to do that. as china intensifies its relations with iran, they even have a technological cooperation with israel, which might be jeopardized. they're trying to balance saudi interests, iranian interests. so far they have been able to do that, say we are only interested in business, we do not want to get involved in religious issues. but, what is happening might push the envelope a bit. how can china to say we are only doing business and have no other role in the region lowering to be soon. i think the jcpoa without a perfect agreement, but it was the best that could be agreed upon. i really do hope that there will be some revitalization of that. the new biden administration has said they are quite interested in returning to its, but there are many obstacles to that. anchor: as we see, iran is moving closer to china.
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that help -- could it fade? is there any space left for issues to be resolved when it comes to the jcpoa? >> i think iran should be cautious, because look what happens to russia. you only turn towards china, that gives them so much more leverage over you. at the ky strategy for iran would be multi-partners and not just push themselves into a corner. that gives beijing farmer leverage over them, and i think that a far smarter strategy would be to return to the jcpoa and at least have investment from other players, including europe. i think that would be a key strategy. linking their cart only to the chinese course -- horse. anchor: iran says that it is the united states that pulled out of the jcpoa. there is some reporting out of the u.s. that seems to suggest
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that the biden administration's planning to put forward a new proposal to jumpstart those talks, perhaps even this week. that may include a request that iran halts some of its nuclear activities in exchange from relief some -- from some sections. at this stage it, is that something iran would accept? >> i think i iran still wants the jcpoa to work. nevertheless, this agreement will make iran less pressured to come back to the deal. here is the issue regarding the jcpoa. the biden administration has made clear that they want to renegotiate the deal. they want the so-called better deal, and when they say better, better for the americans and more concessions from iran. in iran's position, they're not going to renegotiate any part of the deal. the jcpoa with the result of several years of diplomacy.
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just because the americans withdrew does not mean they can renegotiate. the issue of trying to jumpstart it this week is that they are saying to iran, stop enriching up to 20%, and in return, they will lift some sections. they have not made clear what sanctions exactly. but from the iranian perspective, that is a nonstarter because i run once america to come back to the deal fully, that one just some sanctions to be lifted. they want all sanctions to be lifted, and in return, iran will fully oblige by its side of the deal. nevertheless, the biden administration has not been willing to do that thus far. disagreement with china is actually showing the americans that iran has other options, and i think this is something positive for iran. just to go back on the issue of military cooperation, when we say military cooperation, iran's
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position is not a so-called defense pact with china. iran does not expect to go into war with the united states, i don't think anybody wants that. nevertheless, i think in the long run, iran can become closer to the chinese, especially since they can't by military equipment from most countries. they have no choice other than to rely on the russian and chinese regarding its military. anchor: we will leave it there, thank you so much. thank you to my guests. thank for joining us. thank you for watching. you can see the program any time by visiting our website, al jazeera.com. go to our facebook page, you can also join the conversation on twitter. @ajinsidestory. thanks for watching. goodbye for now.
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