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U.S. imposes sanctions on Chinese company for buying Iranian oil

PortandTerminal.com, July 23, 2019

The dangerous geopolitical chess game in the Persian Gulf just got even more complicated. For the first time, the U.S. has imposed sanctions on a Chinese company for purchasing Iranian crude oil.

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration said late on Monday it was targeting the Chinese company Zhuhai Zhenrong as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran by sanctioning the business for a “significant transaction” in Iranian crude.

Zhuhai Zhenrong and Chinese state refiner Sinopec are responsible for nearly all Iranian crude that China imports.

China took in about 12 million tonnes of Iranian crude in the first five months of this year

Zhuhai Zhenrong — which was set up 25 years ago as the then-sole importer of Iranian crude to China — will be barred from engaging in foreign exchange, banking or property transactions under US jurisdiction, as will its chief executive, Youmin Li.

“Any entity considering evading our sanctions should take notice of this action” – Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State

Announced by Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, Washington’s move was the first time it has imposed sanctions on a Chinese entity since it eliminated a waiver in May that had allowed China, a big customer of Tehran, to keep buying Iranian oil.

China’s reaction

China’s foreign ministry responded angrily on Tuesday, saying: “We oppose the bullying and sanctions by the US of China’s enterprises and individuals based on US’s domestic laws. We strongly condemn and firmly oppose sanctions on related Chinese companies by the US.”

Enhanced cooperation between Beijing and Tehran now “not a choice, but a necessity”

Mohsen Shariatinia, an assistant professor of international relations at the Shaid Beheshti National University in Tehran, said in May that the United States’ actions had made enhanced cooperation between Beijing and Tehran was now “not a choice, but a necessity”.

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