Ilan Berman
Ilan Berman
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Pundicity: Informed Opinion and Review

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What Iran Gets From The Strategic Deal With China

July 29, 2020  •  Center for Global Policy Navigator no. 156

A new day is dawning in Sino-Iranian relations. Earlier this month, Iranian officials revealed publicly that they were in the final stages of negotiations with China on a sprawling, 25-year strategic pact. The deal will, if implemented in full, dramatically expand military, economic, and political ties between the two countries. The new accord should not be surprising; Tehran and Beijing have historically cooperated on everything from arms sales to energy. Even so, the agreement – which is scheduled to be finalized in coming weeks – represents a landmark expansion of bilateral relations between the two strategic partners. It is also a development with major implications for regional geopolitics and a clear threat to the United States' efforts to isolate and contain the Islamic Republic.

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Iran's Coronavirus Crisis Continues

July 23, 2020  •  Al-Hurra Digital

In the early stages of the global coronavirus outbreak this spring, Iran quickly emerged as one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. Since then, however, Iranian authorities have taken pains to downplay the extent of the domestic disruption that has been caused by the disease, and moved early to reopen the national economy. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that the results of these policies have been nothing short of ruinous.

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China Outmaneuvers The Muslim World

July 15, 2020  •  The Diplomat

Why have Muslim nations stayed silent about Chinese conduct in Xinjiang? Ever since China launched a broad campaign of repression against its Uyghur Muslim minority in the country's western region of Xinjiang some four years ago, that question has been on the minds of policymakers and analysts alike. To the extent that it has been possible to find one, the answer seems to have a great deal to do with money. Over the past several years, as part of the signature foreign policy initiative known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Beijing has made massive investments throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Asia in everything from infrastructure to telecommunications. In the process, it has succeeded in buying the silence of Muslim states regarding how it treats their co-religionists.

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Tehran Just Sold Its Soul To Beijing

July 10, 2020  •  Al-Hurra Digital

Tehran is turning east. Last week, Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, disclosed to the country's parliament that the regime was in the final stages of negotiations with China on a mammoth new 25-year trade and cooperation accord. The agreement, a follow-on to a quarter-century roadmap for cooperation formulated four years ago, will reportedly tether the two countries closer together politically and militarily, and throw the ailing Islamic Republic a much-needed economic lifeline. For Iran, now reeling under the growing pressure of U.S. sanctions, the deal is a much-needed shot in the arm. Since its start over a year-and-a-half ago, the Trump administration's campaign of "maximum pressure" has hit the Iranian regime hard. The country's once-robust oil exports have dwindled precipitously, taking with them the revenue that the regime desperately needs in order to stay afloat. Meanwhile, the country's national currency, the rial, has cratered and now stands at its lowest point in the Islamic Republic's forty-one year history. Against this backdrop, aid from Beijing has become nothing short of essential for Iran's ayatollahs. But that support will be accompanied by what amounts to a massive erosion of Iranian sovereignty.

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Confronting China's Atrocities In Xinjiang

July 6, 2020  •  Newsweek

Every week, it seems, brings fresh news of China's human rights abuses against its Muslim minority. The latest devastating disclosure comes courtesy of German researcher Adrian Zenz, who has meticulously documented a coordinated campaign by Chinese authorities to demographically control the Uyghur Muslim population of the western Chinese region of Xinjiang through forced sterilizations, abortions and "coercive family planning." The results are nothing short of ruinous for Uyghur identity within the People's Republic of China (PRC)—and for the survival of the Uyghurs themselves. Although they account for just two percent of China's total population, Uyghurs made up 80 percent of all intrauterine contraceptive device procedures within China in 2018. Birth rates in Xinjiang have plummeted, accordingly. According to Dr. Zenz, the birth rate in the region saw a staggering decline of nearly 24 percent last year alone. And in Kashgar and Hotan, two major cities in Xinjiang, a mere three percent of women of childbearing age actually gave birth. It's no wonder that some experts have termed what is now happening in Xinjiang a form of "demographic genocide." But this campaign of coercive sterilization is only the latest in a long list of official atrocities.

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Books by Ilan Berman

Cover of Iran's Deadly Ambition Cover of Implosion Cover of Winning the Long War Cover of Tehran Rising

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