China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday defended the nation's crude oil purchases and said it opposes unilateral sanctions, one day after the U.S. lifted its threat of sanctions on other nations that curbed use of Iranian oil.
At a daily press briefing, spokesman Hong Lei said China buys its crude oil 'through normal channels, which is understandable, reasonable and justified. It isn't in violation of any Security Council resolutions or impaired interests of any third party or international community.'
He added, 'China always opposes the practice of one country imposing unilateral sanctions against another based on its domestic laws and will not accept such unilateral sanctions to be imposed onto a third country.'
China on Wednesday said its imports from Iran fell by more than 40% to 1.15 million tons due to a business dispute between Iran's state oil company and one of the two Chinese companies that imports Iranian oil. The two sides have since reached a new agreement. Last year, Iran was China's No. 3 source of exported crude, after Saudi Arabia and Angola.
The Obama administration on Tuesday said it won't impose sanctions against Japan or 10 European Union nations that have moved to pare Iranian oil purchases, a move that reflects U.S. efforts to squeeze Tehran's finances without upsetting global energy markets.