In an unprecedentedly aggressive tweet on July 22, Donald Trump warned Iran that if it threatens the United States again, it “will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.” The following day, Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has repeatedly argued for bombing Iran before he took office in April 2018, also issued a statement claiming that Trump told him “if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before.” But then on July 30, Trump said he would be willing to meet with Iran “whenever they want.”

China is the largest buyer of Iranian oil, Iran’s largest trading partner, and arguably its most important positive political relationship. What do Trump’s statements mean for China’s relationship with Iran, and with the greater Middle East? And how would war—or peace—between the United States and Iran affect China’s interests? —The Editors

From Christin Lin: Wednesday, August 1, 2018 - 11:07am

Trump’s tweet set off a barrage of heated discussions on long-standing U.S. regime change policy toward the Middle East, with some pundits such as retired Army Colonel Douglas Macgregor predicting a possible war with Iran that could draw in China and Russia.

Indeed, China has large stakes in Iran’s stability. It is the largest buyer of Iranian oil, and its largest trading partner, while Iran is a key strategic node connecting Asia and the Middle East on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Additionally, after decades of overthrown governments precipitating failed states and rising terrorism, China is against further Western-sponsored regime change in the region.

For the full story, please visit

connect with us


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766