Friday, January 20, 2012

China defends oil trade with Iran

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao (file photo)

Source: Press TV

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao says his country will continue oil trade with Iran in defiance of proposed US and European sanctions which aim to stop Iran's oil exports.

Speaking to reporters during the last leg of his Persian Gulf tour in the Qatari capital Doha on Thursday, Wen noted that Beijing will continue normal trading relations with Tehran while supporting UN Security Council resolutions on Iran's nuclear issue.

"China's oil trade with Iran is a normal commercial activity," he added.

China's prime minister said, "I believe that China is not the only country to buy oil from Iran... Legitimate trade has to be protected if global economic chaos is to be avoided."

He also underlined his country's firm opposition to development and possession of nuclear weapons by any country, calling for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East.

Before arriving in Qatar, Wen had visited Saudi Arabia, where he presided over the signing of energy deals with China's top oil provider.

China also inked similar energy deals with the United Arab Emirates during Wen's visit to the Persian Gulf state.

The Chinese prime minister's Middle Eastern tour comes in the midst of escalating tensions between Iran and the West over proposed sanctions against the Iran's oil sector.

Tehran has threatened that if sanctions are actually imposed on Iran's oil trade, the country may respond by closing the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Iran is the third largest provider of oil to China. Although Qatar and the UAE are both major oil-producing countries, they are not among the top 10 oil exporters to the Asian economic giant.

The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow shipping channel between the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman with a daily flow of about 15 million barrels of oil.

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