Iran's potential in the Belt and Road Initiative during the epidemic

Due to the vulnerability of Iran's economy in the face of sanctions restrictions and the prevalence of the corona, it seems that a country can have the ability to cooperate with Iran, which is better than other countries in managing the economic challenges caused by this epidemic. According to a long-term plan, the Chinese authorities will pursue their cooperation with the countries of the region, including Iran, in the form of expanding cooperation with 65 countries along the belt and road project. Although this cross-border project, like many other international programs, has been affected by the Corona epidemic and the resulting economic crisis, China has handled the challenges well. According to the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, from January to August 2020, Chinese companies' non-financial direct investment in the 54 countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative was $ 11.8 billion, up 31.5 percent from the same period last year. As a successful country in controlling the corona epidemic and its effects on the economy, China will pursue financial support from less developed countries in the form of loans such as a $ 500 million special loan to Sri Lanka to combat the effects of the epidemic. In addition to direct financial assistance, during the epidemic, infrastructure measures with long-term and basic effects are also considered by China; The most important of these are the development of the Digital Silk Road, the development of the Health Silk Road, the increase of private sector participation and the development of multilateral international cooperation. If Iran can meet part of its structural needs in the field of health by attracting existing capital in the field of health silk, in addition to solving domestic problems and the broad needs of this field, the field of export development in this sector will be provided. At the same time, the Belt and Road Initiative, which pursues the idea of combining digital sectors such as telecommunications, Internet infrastructure and e-commerce in the form of the Digital Silk Road, can create the potential for Iran to reap the benefits of improving its information infrastructure during an epidemic, given China's particular emphasis on this sector. Based on this, the following should be considered: the need to obtain financial benefits from the financial channels identified in the initiative with the aim of defining a fixed and special position for Iran in the financial plans of this project with the prospect of removing sanctions barriers, the importance of Iran gaining a position in the strategy of developing China's supply chains to the countries of the Belt and Road Initiative, the need to address structural challenges in the field of political economy through measures such as the revival of JCPOA and the adoption of the FATF, the need for Iran to actively enter the health Silk Road in order to meet the structural needs in this area and The need to have the facilities of the digital silk road of the Belt and Road Initiative with the aim of equipping the infrastructure of this sector.

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