China refuses USA order to reduce oil imports from Iran

China refuses USA order to reduce oil imports from Iran

In return, United Nations-approved sanctions were lifted, and Iran was allowed to resume trading oil and gas on the worldwide market.

China has declined the United States' request to halt oil imports from Iran, Bloomberg news reported on Friday.

The snub could seriously undermine USA efforts to isolate Iran over the country's controversial nuclear programme.

Francis Fannon, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Energy Resources, was recently in China to discuss sanctions, according to a State Department spokesperson.

US President Donald Trump announced in May Washington's withdrawal from a landmark multinational nuclear deal with Iran.

But Trump, a long-time critic of the deal who succeeded Barack Obama as president previous year, pulled out of the pact despite repeated assurances by United Nations inspectors that Iran is in compliance with its obligations.

Teams of US officials have been visiting capitals around the world to try to choke off sales of Iranian oil by early November, when USA sanctions are due to snap back into effect.

Trump's policies are already putting significant pressure on the Iranian economy, although USA intelligence suggests they may ultimately rally Iranians against the United States and strengthen Iran's hardline rulers, officials say.

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The US has ramped up pressure around the globe, asking countries to stop using Iranian oil by the time sanctions get re-imposed in November.

Repeating the pattern of past weeks, crude prices on Friday ended the week down by 0.4 percent for West Texas Intermediate and 1.5 percent for Brent, this time in reaction to China state oil major Sinopec cutting its purchases of us product due to the trade spat between both countries.

"The Americans say they want to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero ..."

Last month, state-run Hindustan Petroleum had to cancel an Iranian oil shipment as insurers were not willing to provide cover for its two refineries for processing Iranian oil, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

The Trump administration had wanted Iranian oil exports cut to zero by November 4.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: "China and Iran unwaveringly maintain normal trade and economic ties".

In July, Beijing lifted monthly oil imports from Iran by 26 percent. "China will continue to cooperate with Iran adhering to its global obligations", she added. In the same month previous year shipments amounted to 415 000 bpd.

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