Daily Management Review

US Approached China To Curtain Beijing’s Iranian Oil Imports – Reuters


US Approached China To Curtain Beijing’s Iranian Oil Imports – Reuters
China has been approached by the United States about decreasing its imports of crude oil from Iran, reported news agency Reuters quoting information from sources in the US and Europe. This move is aimed to put pressure on Iran to come to the negotiating table about the restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal.
The fact that Iran’s economy has remained viable despite some of the most crippling sanctions imposed on Tehran by the US has been possible because of Chinese purchases of Iranian oil. The US sanctions were meant to stifle such shipments in order to exert pressure on Tehran to curtail its nuclear programme.
"We are aware of the purchases that Chinese companies are making of Iranian oil," a senior US official, who was not named, reportedly told Reuters.
"We have used our sanctions authorities to respond to Iranian sanctions evasion, including those doing business with China, and will continue to do so if necessary," he added.
"However, we have been approaching this diplomatically with the Chinese as part of our dialogue on Iran policy and think that, in general, this is a more effective path forward to address our concerns," the official said.
This issue was among those that were highlighted by US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman during her visit to China in late July, said Reuters quoting a European official. The huge quantity of oil that China imports from Iran is one of the major concerns for the West and who believe that this has shielded Iran from the tough sanctions imposed on it by the West, the European official reportedly told Reuters.
No comments on the issue were available from the US State Department
The average import of Iranian oil by China is 553,000 barrels per day through August this year, according to estimates of commodity analytics firm Kpler.
In June, unofficial discussions between the US and Iran over reinvigorating the 2015 nuclear deal were called off after having initiated in April. The discussions broke down after just two days following the election of hardliner Ebrahim Raisi as the president of Iran who took over from Hassan Rouhani, who headed the government while negotiated the deal.
Under the 2015 deal, Iran promised to curtail its uranium enrichment programme, which is one possible road to developing fissile material for a nuclear weapon on the condition of the US, the European Union, and the United Nations lifting economic sanctions on the country.
There is no intention of it to make nuclear weapons, Iran has stated previously.
After roughly a year of waiting, Iran countered Trump's withdrawal from the agreement by resuming a few of the nuclear operations that it had promised to curtail under the treaty, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Joe Biden, who succeeded Trump, has stated that he will prioritize "diplomacy" with Iran, but that if discussions falter, he will be willing to pursue other, undefined measures.
According to a French presidential official, Iran must return to the Vienna discussions on the United States and Iran resuming compliance with the accord in order to prevent a diplomatic aggravation that may undermine the discussions.
"We need, in this phase, to stay in close contact and closely united with all of the members of the JCPOA, including the Russians and the Chinese," a French official said, according to Reuters.
"In particular, we expect the Chinese to express themselves and act in a more determined way. We need to exert pressure, which is indispensable, on Iran," the French official added.
Relating to the issue of US approaching China about Iranian oil imports, the onus was pinned on Washington by Beijing, according to a briefing by a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson on September 24.
"As the one that started the new round of tensions in the Iranian nuclear situation, the US should redress its wrong policy of maximum pressure on Iran, lift all illegal sanctions on Iran and measures of long-arm jurisdiction on third parties, and work to resume negotiations and achieve outcomes at an early date," the spokesperson said according to a ministry transcript.