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Iran-China trade at $20bn in 8 months despite US sanctions: Envoy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
China’s Ambassador to Iran Chang Hua is seen in this file photo arriving for a meeting with journalists in Tehran on August 26, 2019.


China’s ambassador to Iran says American sanctions have failed to affect economic cooperation between the two countries, adding that the value of bilateral trade has reached almost $20 billion between late March an late November this year.

Chang Hua said on Tuesday that China would continue to ignore US efforts to restrict Iran’s trade activity in the world, saying Tehran and Beijing will seek to expand their ties in the future.

Speaking to a gathering of businesses in Tehran, Hua insisted that reaching a $20-bn target in bilateral trade in eight months was a sign that Iran and China were determined to increase their economic cooperation.

The ambassador, who was appointed to the post some six months ago, said he had done his best during his time in Tehran to help improve the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The comments come as China struggles to minimize the impacts of the American sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry on the general status of trade and cooperation with Iran.

China, once the top buyer of Iran’s oil, has consistently refused US pressure to cut crude imports from Iran to zero. Beijing insists oil imports from Iran would continue despite problems affecting the transportation and insurance of oil shipments.

Hua said that China would keep trying to save a landmark nuclear deal signed between Iran and world powers in 2015 more than a year after the US government pulled out of the agreement to let it unravel.

He said the JCPOA, as the deal is known, was a historic diplomatic achievement and a result of years of negotiations that should be preserved as a model for solving international disputes.

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