In Brief

How Trump may push Iran into China’s lap

Reintroduction of sanctions could see Middle East country ramp up exports to Asia

Donald Trump is threatening to impose economic sanctions on Iran, a move that commentators warn could lead to a global economic power shift from the US to China.

The Trump administration won’t have the backing of the international community in its campaign to resurrect the sanctions, for support of terrorist groups across the Middle East and other alleged misconduct. That lack of support will make isolating Iran “much more difficult”, says Business Insider, and “some analysts argue that the Washington crackdown could merely push Iran to begin selling oil under contracts denominated in [Chinese] yuan rather than dollars”. 

“If new policies deter Western firms from Iran, China stands to be one of the main beneficiaries,” Jonathan Hillman, a fellow with the Washington DC-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, told the South China Morning Post. “This would likely have a greater immediate impact on European firms than US firms.” 

President Trump has sought to “make America great again, but his effort to isolate Iran could have the side effect of pushing OPEC’s third-largest exporter onto the Chinese currency - giving a boost to China’s rise”, adds OilPrice.com’s Nick Cunningham.

This week European governments offered a staunch defence of the nuclear accord between Iran and other world powers including the US, “underscoring the risk of failure for Trump if he restores sanctions without international support”, Bloomberg says.

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