Outside intelligence circles, the depth of Sino-Iranian friendship is a well-kept secret.
It draws strength from a chip on the shoulder they share as two of the world’s most under-appreciated civilizations. They see their bond as a lever to be used to make the West, the Russians and fellow Asians give them the respect which is their due as ancient cultures and contemporary global powers.
Iran and China try to guard the true extent of their collaboration as a cherished secret, according to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources. Beijing silently applauds Tehran’s troublemaking in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Afghanistan as a bid to weaken the United States; both promote the impression that Russia is Iran’s senior strategic partner.
In fact, it is China which has for the last five years been quietly transferring to Iran nuclear know-how and sophisticated missile technology, oblivious to protests from Washington.
Assuming US intelligence is alive to these goings-on, it would appear that the Bush administration has decided to stay mum while, at the same time, hitting China in its pocket (as outlined in a separate article in this issue).
According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s intelligence sources, the Chinese are feeding Iran technology for most of its military industries, including the sensitive elements of military aircraft production. With help from Beijing and technical information from Russia and Ukraine, Iran has been able to go into production of two fighter aircraft designated Saegheh and Azarkhsh and a two-seater training craft.
From China, Iran’s aviation industry has learned techniques for making engine components, electronics and aircraft design.
It is possible that China may even have passed to Iran vital elements of electronic technology and equipment purchased in the past from Israel.
The two governments are in the final stages of drafting a multi-annual contract for the sale of Iranian gas and oil to China. Washington leaned hard on Bejing to stop the transaction, to no effect.
China’s inside track with the clerical rulers of Tehran is enhanced at the same time as Iran goes sour on Moscow, chiefly over Russia’s procrastination in releasing fuel for the Bushehr reactor and completing its construction.
Putting down clandestine roots in Africa together
Iran and China have a flourishing partnership going to put down clandestine roots in Africa. In the teeth of US disapproval, China will be setting up in Khartoum, Sudan, an intelligence and administrative station for organizing its operations across the continent. Iran’s side of the deal is investment in Sudan’s infrastructure including roads, while working with the Sudanese government to expand an Islamist network of terrorists across Africa. Subversive agents are to be planted in Somalia and the Horn of Africa, and sanctuary provided for terrorists on the run from pro-Western governments.
The Chinese-Iranian collaboration was confirmed when General Peter Pace, military adviser to President George W. Bush, visited the Horn of Africa and other parts of the continent earlier this month.
Watchful eyes in Washington did not miss Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hobnobbing at length with Chinese president Hu Jintao at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit in Bishbek on Aug. 16.
Our sources also reveal that the summit in the capital of Kyrgyzstan also occasioned the secret venue for the first known private conference between Presidents Vladimir Putin, Hu Jintao and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
One of the consequences of that encounter was the decision to step hard into the hot arena of Central Asia to challenge the US military presence and its investments in the gas and energy resources of the region.
The Russian president believes he can get away with a double game. By keeping a foot in both camps, he hopes to qualify as honest broker for smoothing differences between his two Asian colleagues and Washington.
This will not wash. Putin’s visit with the Bush clan in Maine was far from a roaring success. The US president’s strategic advisers are leery of the Russian president’s pose athwart the West and the radical Muslim camp and see him as part of the opposition.