China’s oil imports from Iran rise despite US threats
China imported more than 900,000 metric tons of crude oil from Iran in July, up more than 8 percent from the month before, data released by China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Tuesday showed.
According to Press TV, the imports by the world’s largest oil buyer and more importantly the increase in shipments came despite Washington’s threat to punish companies after ending waivers to unilateral sanctions on Iranian oil on May 2.
According to GAC figures cited by Platts, China lifted 926,119 metric tons (213,000 barrels per day) of Iranian oil in July, up 4.7% month on month.
China is Iran’s largest oil importer and fiercely opposed to the US sanctions which have failed to stop shipments from the Middle Eastern energy powerhouse.
Beijing has pushed back against the United States, saying China's cooperation with Iran is legitimate under international law and should be "respected".
The United States is currently engaged in a trade war with China. Last month, Bank of America Merrill Lynch warned that a further escalation could encourage closer cooperation between Iran and China.
The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councilor Wang Yi, on Monday hailed Iran as a "strategic partner" as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Beijing.
"We are comprehensive strategic partners,” Wang said. "That speaks to the high level of our relationship and our close strategic cooperation.”
In an apparent jab at the United States, Wang said that "unilateralism is rising and power politics is emerging".
"Facing this situation, China as a responsible country agrees to work with Iran and other countries to work together for multilateralism, the basic rules of international politics and uphold the rightful interests of each country," he said.
Zarif echoed those views, saying Iran and China need to join forces to counter unilateralism and "contempt for international law".