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April 23, 2019

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China opposes US sanctions over Iran oil

CHINA consistently opposes unilateral US sanctions against Iran, the Chinese foreign ministry said yesterday amid reports that Washington is expected to announce that buyers of Iranian oil must halt imports soon or face sanctions.

Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang, speaking at a daily news briefing, said China’s bilateral cooperation with Iran was in accordance with the law. China is a major importer of Iranian oil and was one of eight buyers who were granted a waiver by the United States to continue buying Iranian oil.

US President Donald Trump has decided to eliminate all waivers to eight economies, which include India, Japan and South Korea, allowing them to buy Iranian oil without facing US sanctions, the White House said yesterday, while vowing to ensure global oil market was well supplied. “The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ... along with our friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied,” the White House said.

Oil prices spiked after Sunday reports that the waivers would end and remained higher yesterday. International benchmark Brent rose 2.6 percent to US$73.87 a barrel after earlier touching US$74.31, highest since early November. US crude futures gained 2.4 percent, or US$1.52 a barrel, to US$65.52. It earlier touched a high of US$65.87, a level not seen since late October.

The United States reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after Trump unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers. Washington is pressuring Iran to curtail its nuclear program and stop backing militant proxies across the Middle East.

Along with sanctions, Washington granted waivers to eight economies that had reduced their purchases of Iranian oil, allowing them to continue buying it without incurring sanctions for six more months.


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