China rejects US-led sanctions on Iran
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei
China has voiced strong opposition to the US-led push for unilateral sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, reiterating that Tehran's nuclear issue must be resolved diplomatically.
"China has consistently believed that sanctions are not the correct way to ease tensions or resolve the issue of Iran's nuclear program," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a news briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.
"The correct path is dialogue and negotiations. China opposes putting domestic law above international law to impose unilateral sanctions on another country," he said.
Hong also defended China's oil and trade ties with Iran and criticized the Western sanctions that could frustrate such relations.
"China and Iran have normal and transparent trade and energy exchanges that do not contravene UN Security Council resolutions. The dealings in question should not be affected (by sanctions),” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman pointed out.
On December 31, US President Barack Obama signed into law fresh economic sanctions against Iran's Central Bank in a bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution.
The legislation requires foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with Iran's Central Bank and oil sector or with the US financial sector.
It will not, however, go into effect for six months in order to provide oil markets with time to adjust.
It also includes a "waiver" allowing the president to suspend the sanctions in case he decides that the anti-Iran attempt will adversely impact national security interests of the US.
The inclusion of the “waiver” in the bill reflects major concerns among American lawmakers that the bullying approach of the US against the Islamic Republic will backfire across the globe.
Meanwhile, energy experts say the sanctions could lead to a major hike in crude oil prices and disrupt the interests of the US and its allies that depend on oil imports from Iran.
The United States has already barred its own banks from dealing with the Iranian Central Bank.