China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a vision to parlay large-scale economic dynamism into a foreign policy projecting Chinese influence overseas in the name of development. If the its promise of mutual prosperity and development is to be more than the sum of its parts, its stabilising effect on the Middle East would be a major litmus test. The momentum may come from Beijing, but smaller countries like Israel can and must shape it.
China views Iran as a central element in its much-touted Silk Road Economic Belt, which aims to extend Beijing's influence overland through Central Asia to the Persian Gulf and Europe. This article for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Open Briefing analyst Kevjn Lim discusses Iran's importance to China, including the geostrategic Iran plays as China's most convenient non-Russian access route to open waters and the only east-west/north-south intersection for Central Asian trade.