China vows to maintain trade with Iran, ignoring ‘with us or against us’ threats from US
“China's commercial cooperation with Iran is open and transparent, reasonable, fair and lawful, not violating any United Nations Security Council resolutions,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement to Reuters. “China’s lawful rights should be protected.”
The ministry also reminded Washington that Beijing follows a consistent policy of opposing any “unilateral sanctions and long-armed jurisdiction” indiscriminately practiced by the US against members of the international community.
Beijing reaffirmed its stance on US sanctions at a sensitive time in Sino-American relations, full of trade disputes and China’s repeated accusations that Trump is pursuing unfair protectionist policies. In recent months, the countries have slapped each other with reciprocal trade tariffs, with even more levies set to come into force later in August.
Following its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year, on Tuesday the US slapped Iran with “the most biting sanctions ever.” The Islamic Republic is now prevented from using the US dollar and is barred from trading in cars, metals and minerals. Washington also aims to renew its sanctions on Iran’s energy sector in November.
Donald Trump also firmly stated that those nations that disobey and continue trade with Iran after the November 4 deadline will “not be doing business with the United States.”
Despite threats voiced by Washington, a number of countries have refused to bow to Trump's demands to cut ties with Iran. While the European Union is enforcing the so-called Blocking Statute to protect its firms operating in Iran from looming US sanctions against the country, Germany, a signatory the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has criticized the US approach.
“We still consider it a mistake to give up the nuclear agreement with Iran,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned. “Anyone hoping for a 'regime change' must remember that whatever follows, could give us much bigger problems, and isolating Iran could boost radical and fundamentalist forces. Chaos in Iran –as we have experienced in Iraq or Libya– would destabilize an already troubled region even more.”
Although Trump recently offered to hold talks with the Iranian leadership to defuse tensions, Tehran views it as a PR stunt and an attempt to deepen the divide between the Iranian people and the state.
“Imagine the unlikely option of negotiating now, how can the US be trusted that, after reaching an agreement, they will remain committed to their very own agreement?" Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif noted Wednesday. “The Americans have never acted with sincerity, and Trump’s move and remarks were merely a publicity stunt.”
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