U.S. sanctions Chinese oil buyer over alleged Iran violations
23 Jul 2019

The United States has sanctioned the China’s state-run energy company Zhuhai Zhenrong Co Ltd for allegedly violating restrictions imposed on Iran’s oil sector, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a speech on Monday.

“We’ve said that we will sanction any sanctionable behavior, and we mean it,” Pompeo said in remarks in Florida.

The move comes amid increased tensions between Iran and the West as well as between the United States and China, which have restarted major trade talks.

Republican U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has stepped up its sanctions against Iran after breaking from the nuclear pact brokered between Tehran and other Western nations under the previous Democratic administration of President Barack Obama.

China’s embassy in Washington rejected Pompeo’s announcement.

“China firmly opposes the U.S. imposition of unilateral sanctions and so-called ‘long-arm jurisdiction’ on China and other countries invoking its domestic law,” a spokesperson said by email.

“We urge the U.S. to immediately correct its wrongdoing and earnestly respect other parties’ legal rights and interests.” Zhuhai Zhenrong, which specializes mainly in buying Iranian oil and is based in Beijing, was previously sanctioned in 2012 by the Obama administration over its dealings with Iran.

The company is now a subsidiary of Macau-based, state-controlled conglomerate Nam Kwong Group.

It is largely disconnected from the Chinese financial system, which limits the “contagion” of the sanctions from other entities and banking systems, analysts at ClearView Energy Partners said. But Washington’s move is another shot across the bow that reflects the seriousness of the Trump administration’s stance on Iran.

By Lesley Wroughton, David Brunnstrom and Timothy Gardner, Reuters, 22 July 2019

Read more at Reuters

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