Official data show Iran’s crude oil exports to China soared to their second highest level in December 2012, in spite of US-led sanctions against the Islamic Republic’s energy sector.
China imported nearly 593,390 barrels per day (bpd) of crude from Iran in December last year, up 3.6 percent from the preceding year and up 39 percent from November, Reuters quoted customs figures as saying.
For the whole 2012, the highest level of China's crude imports from Iran stood at 633,000 bpd.
Industry officials in China attributed the enhancement in Iran’s crude oil exports to improvement in shipment.
“The problems with delays have improved recently. The period of delay has become shorter and overall, less frequent,” a well-informed Chinese official was quoted as saying.
Iran is currently China's third largest supplier of crude, providing Beijing with roughly 12 percent of its total annual oil consumption.
At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the European Union imposed new sanctions on Iran’s oil and financial sectors with the goal of preventing other countries from purchasing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with the Central Bank of Iran.
The sanctions came into force in early summer 2012.
On October 15, 2012, the EU foreign ministers reached an agreement on another round of sanctions against Iran.
The illegal US-engineered sanctions were imposed based on the unfounded accusation that Iran is pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it has the right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.