Iran, China setting up joint base for collecting intelligence

The two countries agreed on the establishment of a joint intelligence collection mechanism in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The base at Chabahar Port is expected to be one of the biggest intelligence collection centers in the world

The port of Chabahar in Iran. Photo: Alireza numberone /Wikimedia

Under the strategic agreement that was signed recently between China and Iran, the countries agreed to establish joint intelligence collection capabilities in the area of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea (with ranges of up 5,000km from the Iranian coast). The project for building the joint collection center is expected to begin in the second week of November this year.

The intelligence collection base will be at the port of Chabahar, where a joint control room for the collection, analysis and sharing of intelligence will be established. The collection of intelligence, which will be carried out by means of Chinese and Russian systems that will be supplied by Russia, will enable maritime and aerial monitoring using SIGINT, COMINT and ELINT collection systems.  

The intelligence collection center at the Iranian port is expected to be one of the biggest intelligence collection centers in the world, and will be operated by more than 1,000 Chinese intelligence staff, together with Iranian and Russian intelligence officers. The collection center will be also be connected via the internet to the Russian-Iranian collection centers in Syria, in Tartus and Latakia.  

The Chinese and the Russians will also install at the Iranian port electronic warfare systems for disrupting the transmissions of missiles, aircraft and even air defense systems. A Chinese-Iranian-Russian joint center for carrying out cyberattacks will even be set up in the area of the port. 

The strategic concept being implemented via the intelligence systems by the Chinese in Iran is Anti-Access/Area-Denial (A2/AD), based on a Russian concept, which has been implemented for many years by China in the South China Sea and by the Iranians in the Persian Gulf. The object of this strategic concept is to create airspace and waters in which the rival cannot maneuver and operate his weapons, using layers of detection, defense and attack systems.  

The building of the new Chinese-Russian-Iranian capability will enable the three partners to surveil and monitor the air and sea areas all the way to Austria in the west, including the airspace of Israel, Turkey and Greece; from the south to Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya; and from the east, to Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan all the way to Thailand. 

Besides the impressive and significant intelligence collection capabilities, the joint intelligence collection center that is expected to be established constitutes a response and significant counterweight to the US and its allies operating in the area of Iran and in the South China Sea.