China has increased their purchases of Iranian oil by 8%, despite attempts by the U.S. to sanction its purchase, and force countries to drop Iran as a supplier.
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According to figures released on Tuesday by China's General Administration of Customs (GAC), Chinese imports of Iranian oil increased by 8% between the months of June and July. This increase came just as the U.S. attempted to ramp up pressure against Iran and isolate the country in the Middle East region. Sanctions against Iran were tightened in May, precisely to stop countries trading with the Islamic Republic.
Nevertheless, China has chosen to ignore the Trump administration’s unilateral coercive measures. China is currently Iran’s largest customer for oil, and have long opposed US sanctions and aggression against the country.
"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," said Wang Yi, one of the country's top diplomats, in response to the new figures.
Furthermore, China has said it is prepared to defend their ties with Iran if the U.S. decides that it will retaliate for ignoring the sanctions.
Petroleum analysts at OilPrice.com have said; “If there is any further pushback from the U.S. on any of these Chinese projects in Iran, then Beijing will invoke in full force the ‘nuclear option’ of selling all or a significant part of its $1.4 trillion holding of U.S. Treasury bills, with a major chunk of the paper due to be sold in September on this basis”
Likewise, Iran has celebrated their ties with China. Speaking from Beijing, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Iran is very excited by China’s ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ and that it is “to be the future of our region and our global interactions”
China is also working with other countries that the U.S. has attempted to sanction, such as Venezuela, where China has delivered humanitarian aid, and economic investment, despite the US imposing a blockade on the country.