BEIJING – Last month, the US Treasury imposed sanctions on Chinese oil trading company Zhuhai Zhengrong Ltd. and its CEO, Youmin Li, after a Bloomberg report accused China of circumventing tough US sanctions on Iran.
China continued its Iranian crude oil imports in July, two months after the end of US A sanctions exemptions, research by three oil tanker companies showed, Reuters reported.
According to the data, tankers discharged between July and July between 4.4 million and 11 million barrels of oil in China, and some of the oil is believed to have gone to China’s strategic oil reserves.
The Chinese insistence on continuing imports from Iran is a “headache” for the government Trump, who recently estimated that between 50 and 70 percent of oil exports from Iran now heading to China, with 30 percent more to Syria.
Last week, Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri urged China and other countries to buy even more Iranian oil, saying that threats of US sanctions did not collapse the Iranian economy.
On July 23, Beijing vehemently condemned the “illegal [US] sanctions against companies and individuals” after Washington imposed restrictions on a Chinese oil importer, calling the sanctions “random” and emphasizing that they were “a violation of international law.”
China is the only major traditional importer of Iranian crude not to be under the pressure of US sanctions. Most other importers, including India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Greece and Turkey, have suspended imports for fear of US sanctions.
Last month, US officials informed the press that the State Department was considering making an exception for China in its sanctions strategy against Iran because there was not much Washington could do to respond to Beijing.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently reiterated his view that if US President Donald Trump wants to start negotiations with Tehran, sanctions against the country will need to be lifted.