China is ready to increase and develop cooperation with Iran and condemns the use of unilateral sanctions in international relations, said Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Javad Zarif.
“China attaches great importance to Sino-Iranian relations and stands ready to continue developing mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Iran,” said Wang, quoted by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, adding that Beijing opposes the use of sanctions in international relations.
The message was a clear nudge in the United States, which deliberately chose to leave the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA). On August 7, Washington reinstated the first package of sanctions against Iran, previously suspended under the JCPOA signed between Tehran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.
The sanctions are aimed at hampering the acquisition of US dollar banknotes in Iran, as well as hampering trade in gold and other metals, Iranian rial transactions, and limiting trade with other countries. A new wave of US sanctions on the Iranian energy sector is expected to be imposed in November, mostly affecting oil exports.
Thanking China’s statement, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif said Iran has high regard for China’s role in safeguarding the JCPOA. The Iranian minister also expressed readiness to push forward coordination with all parties to the agreement.
This comes as CNPC,China’s largest state-owned energy company, has taken over the French part of Iran’s gas project, which Total maintains.
“China’s National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) has replaced French Total with 80.1% in phase 11 of the South Pars (gas field),” the investment head of Iranian state oil company NIOC Mohammad Mostafavi told the state oil agency, IRNA news.
Total had already reported that it would withdraw from the deal unless the European Union was able to shield block companies from being sanctioned by the United States.