In a regular press conference in Beijing on August 3, 2018 spokesman Geng Shuang of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs soundly rejected US sanctions against Iran. The following exchange took place between Geng and a reporter at the news conference:
Q: Bloomberg said that China rejects the US request to cut the Iran oil import. What’s your comment?
A: We have responded to similar questions many times before. China and Iran, under the precondition of not violating their respective international obligations, have maintained normal exchanges and cooperation. This is reasonable, legitimate, legal and beyond reproach. Meanwhile, China is always opposed to unilateral sanction and “long-arm jurisdiction”. China’s legitimate rights and interests should be upheld. This position is firm and clear.
In an article on August 9, the Tehran Times reported that China buys roughly 650,000 barrels / day from Iran at a cost of around $15 billion annually. It also reported that Iran’s CNPC and China’s Sinopec have significant joint ventures in Iranian oil fields.
China’s refusal to honor US sanctions is in line with its efforts to help save the JCPOA or “Iran nuclear deal” along with the original signers (China, Russia, EU, UK, France Germany and Iran) after the US’s unilateral withdrawal from the accord. For its part, China seems committed to the continued support of the JCPOA and to keeping Iran in the 2015 deal despite US sanctions.
Will China, Russia, and the Europeans be able to do this? Please let us know your thoughts on this.