Wednesday, August 1, 2012

China hits back at US over new sanctions on Iran

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei (file photo)

Source: Press TV

China has reacted angrily to the US administration’s latest imposition of sanctions against a Chinese bank over its handling of transactions with Iran, urging Washington to immediately revoke such economic restrictions.

China's Foreign Ministry called on US authorities on Wednesday to remove the sanctions brought against the Bank of Kunlun and discontinue measures aimed at "damaging China's interests and Sino-US relations."

Beijing’s call came after the administration of US President Barack Obama on Tuesday announced additional economic sanctions against Iran's crude exports sector as well as the Chinese bank and another financial institution in Iraq, which Washington has accused of handling business transactions with Tehran.

The US president claimed the latest measures underscore the American resolve in pressuring the Islamic Republic "to meet its international obligations," according to a statement released by the White House.

The US president also alleged that the Bank of Kunlun and the Elaf Islamic Bank in Iraq have been involved in arranging transactions worth millions of dollars with Iranian banks that were already under US-led sanctions for alleged ties to Iran’s nuclear energy program.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed "strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition" over the latest US effort through a brief statement, warning that it would lodge an official protest against the measure.

"China has regular relations with Iran in the energy and trade fields, which have no connection with Iran's nuclear plans," the statement added.

Iran's Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday that the Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic are intended at crippling the emerging economic powers across Asia.

“One of the West’s objectives behind imposing sanctions against Iran is to hamper the economic growth of the emerging economies in Asia, so they would fail to provide their energy sources in the long-term and in full security from a country like Iran,” Mehmanparast stated in a meeting with Secretary General of Chinese Journalists Union John Xui Shoun in Beijing.

“The US is concerned over the fact that China and some Asian countries are making progress and they (the Americans) know that if this process continues, countries like China, India and other Asian states will take control of the global economy,” he added.

Mehmanparast pointed out that by imposing the sanctions on Iran, the West seeks to force the Asian countries to meet their energy requirements under short-term contracts with different suppliers and, as a result, create disruption in their economic progress.

At the beginning of 2012, the United States and the EU approved new sanctions against Iran's oil and financial sectors. The embargoes aim to prevent other countries from purchasing Iranian oil or transacting with the Central Bank of Iran.

The US sanctions took effect on June 28, while the US-engineered EU oil ban against Iran was enforced as of July 1.

Washington and the EU have declared that the bans are meant to force Iran to abandon its nuclear energy program, which they claim may include a non-civilian aspect.

Iran, however, has vehemently refuted the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to utilize nuclear technology for peaceful objectives

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