Below is our translation of an article in the Chinese-language site Souhu with a foreword and notes [in brackets] by Vince Dhimos.
The report, assuming it is true, shows how the US is tying itself up in knots by first killing Soleimani, thoroughly alienating Iran’s friends/trading partners, then telling these people they may not trade with Iran. So now China, for one, is hatching plots to keep trading with Iran but without receiving payment in money, ie, by swapping arms for oil – a very hard transaction to trace because SWIFT is not involved. This is a new battlefield and a brand new fighting style confronting the US, which seems to be in over its head — facing as it does not just Iran but its two powerful allies Russia and China.
Apparently, the Western public is being kept in the dark about the Chinese-Iranian plan to swap oil for arms. For instance, on January 6, three days after the murder of Qassem Soleimani, Forbes wrote that following the imposition of Trump’s sanctions on Iran in August 2018, “China has since turned to the Saudi’s, no longer able to trust Iran as a reliable source due to geopolitics.” Thus, according to US media, seems like all is going swimmingly for the US bullies.
On 13 Jan 2020, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said to spglobal.com:
“I sat down with the Chinese officials. They flew in a delegation to meet with us and the State Department to talk about this [buying Iranian oil]. They've cut off all of the state companies from buying oil, and we're working closely with them to make sure that they cease all additional oil activities," Mnuchin said.”
In other words, Mnuchin supposedly succeeded in persuading China to help the US starve its Iranian friends after murdering its good friend Qassem Soleimani. Apparently US officials have no idea of the crucial role Iran plays in the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Meanwhile, the Chinese-language media were telling a different story, as reported below.
It is clear from his tone that Mnuchin, like the rest of the zombified US Establishment, actually expects China to sympathize with them, feeling their pain at having Iran continue sharing the planet with Israel, which it believes implicitly is in mortal danger of being annihilated by Iran (which has zero nukes to Israel's 300). Perhaps they even think that China ought to understand that the Bible gave Palestine to Israel, despite the passages pointing out that Israel was dispersed throughout the world for disobedience. After all, they reason, American Christians’ concern for Israel’s security makes Israel a godly nation, regardless of what the Bible says. And that makes Iran an evil nation that is doomed to fail in these end days. And yet, the reality suggests a different story, of failed US manipulation to bring Iran, and its two superpower friends Russia and China, to heel. Particularly in view of the recent three-way Russia-China-Iran naval manoeuvres in the Persian Gulf, against which the US was powerless, except to murder a key Iranian military leader who can easily be replaced. The dog barks and the caravan moves on.
This US naiveté is matched by the evidence that the US apparently never thought about the possibility of an oil-arms swap that would enable China to skirt sanctions and clandestinely acquire large volumes of oil from Iran undetected.
Or is the US simply conning the public with these stories?
A search for “iran china oil for arms swap” did not bring up any articles on Sohu in English, indicating that Chinese sites have one version of the news for the Chinese and another for the rest of the world.
In fact the same search failed even to bring up any articles at all indicating an Iran-China oil-for-arms swap. In fact, most of the results were articles (like this one from the South China Morning Post) indicating that China had been gradually reducing its Iranian oil imports. You’d think some Western media source somewhere – other than New Silk Strategies, that is – would have thought to search in Chinese for information on an oil-arms swap.
Iran intends to swap 100 million barrels of oil for Chinese weapons, White House: exhaust all means to stop it
It is reported that a few days ago, an emissary of Iranian President Khamenei arrived in Beijing. After talking with Chinese representatives, the matter of oil cooperation between the two sides has been basically settled. Iran will provide 100 million barrels of oil to China. Iran does not want China to pay the cost. It only needs China to swap weapons to offset the cost of the oil. The US military stated that Iran would definitely take this opportunity to purchase a large amount of advanced weapons from China. [I could not find confirmation that the US knew about this Iran-China deal]
In fact, China-Iran cooperation has been very close in recent years. For example, China helped Iran build a factory to assemble C-704 missiles. This is a cruise missile with a 400 kg heavy warhead and a range of about 40 kilometers, which is enough for Iran to be their air defence weapon. In addition, Iran also fitted the missile to the F-4 Phantom Fighter. According to US media, this time, Iran is likely to introduce Eagle strike (YJ) series missiles from China. [The YJ missiles are anti-ship]
[The above paragraph suggests that Iran could have imported many more missiles than are known to exist in its arsenal. A very good reason for both the US and Israel to stop antagonizing Iran!]
In addition, China will also introduce a complete set of fire control systems. Considering the recent performance of the Russian S-400, that system is in fact somewhat unsatisfactory. The F-4 Phantom previously purchased from the United States is still in service today and is obviously too old. Iran needs to upgrade these fighters and replace radar and fire control systems. All hope lies in China. In addition, after using domestically produced C-802 and other missiles, Iran had had nothing but praise for them.
After this cooperation, 30% of Iran’s weapons will come from China. Because of long-term sanctions by the United States, many countries are afraid to cooperate with Iran, and even less willing to sell weapons to it. Fortunately, with China, Iran got the best of both worlds, not only selling oil but also acquiring a large number of advanced weapons. But China also gained a solid ally in the Middle East. In response, the White House has ordered the United States to use all measures to prevent Iran from using 100 million barrels of oil to exchange weapons with China. [I could not confirm this last sentence. Again, it does not appear that the US has any knowledge of this oil-for-arms swap]