On November 5, the second package of US sanctions took effect, targeting Iran’s oil sector; Washington re-introduced sanctions against Tehran after its unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May.
Lawful trade cooperation with Iran should be respected, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying stated, expressing regret that the United States had re-imposed sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.
Hua Chunying did not immediately comment on whether China had been exempted from the anti-Iranian sanctions by the United States.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman earlier stated that China stands firmly against unilateral sanctions mechanisms and is planning on keeping its trade relations with Iran, in accordance with international agreements.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the opening of the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai that China intends to continue to pursue policies aimed at increasing imports and simplifying customs procedures, as well as reducing duties.
The statements of the Chinese officials were made on November 5, the day Washington promised to introduce another package of sanctions against the Iranian oil sector.
The re-imposed US sanctions will affect companies doing business with Tehran, putting European, Chinese and Russian firms at risk.
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The US Secretary of State announced on November 2 that the United States would grant temporary waivers to eight countries to let them continue to import oil from Iran after November 5. He also pointed out that six of the countries had agreed to significantly reduce imports of Iranian oil, while two others plan to halt their imports entirely.
In early October, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would consider temporary waivers for importers of Iranian oil, to give them time to adjust to the new conditions, but added that he expected all countries to eventually reduce their oil imports from Iran to zero.
The United States withdrew from the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran in May, reimposing sanctions against Iran that had been lifted under the JCPOA, while the other signatories of the deal, China, France, Germany, Iran, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, have expressed their commitment to the accord.