BEIJING / SINGAPORE: China, seeking to skirt US sanctions, will use oil tankers from Iran for its purchases of that country’s crude, throwing Tehran a lifeline while European companies such as France’s Total are walking away due to fear of reprisals from Washington. The United States is trying to halt Iranian oil exports in an effort to force Tehran to negotiate a new nuclear agreement and to curb its influence in the Middle East. China, which has cut imports of US crude amid a trade war with Washington, has said it opposes unilateral sanctions and defended its commercial ties with Iran. Sources told Reuters Chinese buyers of Iranian oil were beginning to shift their cargoes to vessels owned by National Iranian Tanker Co (NITC) for nearly all their imports. The shift demonstrates that China, Iran’s biggest oil customer, wants to keep buying Iranian crude despite the sanctions.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2018.